IMMEDIATELY after the world
had been startled by the news that Stalin had received a Polish priest at the Kremlin, American Catholic authorities described the business as the phoniest propaganda that the Soviet idea-men had so far thought of. This comment may have been guesswork, but if it required confirmation this has been forthcoming iu abundance in the reflections on the significance at the meeting made by Fr. Orlemanski and by press men generally. We are told that Stalin has the interests of Poland at heart, that he wants a strong Poland as a Western rampart for the Soviet Union and that people will attack the religion of the Poles over his dead body, so to speak. All this, of course, is dependent on the Poles granting him his terms. These include the loss of nearly half the Polish territory, the liquidation of the Polish Government to which the Polish resisters in Poland and the vast majority of Poles all ravel the world. are loyal, and the substitution for it of a Government of moral: who, from the Polish point of view, are every hit as much Quislings as the collaborators in France and other occupied countries. One Polish general goes so far as to advocate the incorporation of Poland in Russia which, so far as we re
her. constitutes a new record ia Quislingism.
However, all this may be left to Polish comment and Polish action. What is important from our point of view is the use to which this background is put in reinforcing the further rate> lions on the Orlemanski visit to the effect that a way has been cleared for rapprochement between the Holy See and Soviet Russia.
As we have previously stated, there is nothing inherently impossible in a Concordat between the Vatican and
Russia Should the Holy See judge that a Concordat would best serve the religious interests of Catholics in the Baltic States and Eastern Poland under Soviet occupation. it would certainly not allow ideological and other con
siderations to stand in the way. But what is utterly inconceivable is that the Holy Sec would buy any peace with Soviet Russia at the expense of Poland Of any other country. Yet this is precisely the suggestion made by Fr. Orlemanski and the press men. They foresee better terms between the Vatican and Russia a.s the result of a Poliah surrender to Stalin. This provides an excellent es:amok of the two senses in which the word " appeasement " can he used, To buy peace at the expense of the tights of a third party is compro mite with evil and appeasement in the reprehensible sense To accept a certain situation for what ir is and because it cannot at the moment be remedied without causing even greater harm. and to come to an ad hoe understanding for the common good with an aggressor. while in no way weakening about one's own moral position and imIttmen1 of the situation this is an act of commonsense in order to save what cart he saved out of an immoral situation. If the Holy See were to sign a Conenrdat for certain specified purposes with Soviet Russia it would certainly not leave the world in doubt about it, views of both the nisilosonhy and the behaviour of Soviet Russia and Russia 'f it wished to enjoy the advantages of 'he Concordat, wrodd have in make the hest it conld of the Holy See's' moral attitude What is unbelievable about the whole business we are discussing is that Fr. Orlemanski and his friends could for a single moment deceive rhernselaes into the belief that their advances could have any effect hut to make any Concordat less rather than more likely.
THE AERIAL ASSAULT wE have not commented for " some weeks on the aerial assault which is being delivered day in and day out on Germany and German-occupied Europe In a way extraordinarily little news about the precise nature of the assault and its
effects is forth...smiling either from Allied or enemy sources. Presumably it is extremely difficult for the attackers to judge ol the real effectiveness trom the military point of view ot the blows they are deiivering—certainly there has been little evidence ol any paralysing of the enemy's war machine or even of the enemy's economic lite. All one can say is that the air weapon so far in the war has Nile° ti live up to the
expectations of the experts. It is a torm of warfare where tilt: imagination tends to play a very deceptive part. To the vision of aerial armadas filling the skies and laying a whole country to waste there corresponds the reality of a few bombs tailing (very many of them wide) here and there in a territory whose area is on a scale infinitely wider than any mass of planes however often seat on its mission of destruction. One has yet to meet anyone who has not been surprised at the comparative ineffectiveness of air-raids twinst which there was adequete defence. Even more surprising, perhaps, are the cases of carefully prepared strategic bombing against undefended places Ln the case of Cassino. for example, not only did the cinema record show how many bombs fell wide. hut one of the high commanders concerned confessed that no one had remembered that the damage to be effected in the small town would prove even more awkward for the attackers than the defenders.
The test of military effectiveness of the present unprecedentedly grand attack can only be made when the land fighting begins. Meanwhile we have to note two things. First, a weekly newspaper Nes taken one of the dailies to task for suggesting that the Second Front is likely to be a hazardous operation for which the enemy is well prepared Such suggestions it calls " defeatism " and anti-Russian propaganda. This comment is a queer reflection on the state of national nerves. If there is one possible road to defeat for the Russians as well as for ourselves it IS through the failure on a large scale of the operations now impending. Happily there is every reason to suppose •hat on this occasion at least the minuet, command is !caving as little as possible to chance and refusing to be rushed by idiotic political commentators The second reflection is tha, whatever the military results of the air attack, there can be few if any raids which do not claim their victims in the way of the children and the aged. of homes and of the monuments of our culture Ti is to be hoped that this solemn fact has not come to be disregarded by those who are planning, a tictory for the forces of civilisation.
ALTH0L3C3H the release of Mr.
Gandhi after nearly two years' imprisonment is declared to be " solely on medical grounds," it is difficult not to see in the action a change of policy The Indian leader has been seriously ill before. In the latter part of February, 1943, his condition caused alarm, but he remained still in detention This change of policy may he due to several reasons. For one thing. Gandhi is now 74 years of age and physically speaking, a broken man. Moreover, the refusal of the Government to be moved by the extremity to which his fasting reduced him has had its elect; his weapon of the hunger-strike has been shown to be under the conditions existing in India to-day, of no avail
We are inclined however, to find a still stronget reason in the improved situation in the Far East. In Burma the tide of Japanese successes seems to have ebbed. With the monsoon at hand, when extensive operations will be impossible, the Allies find themselves in an improved position. Progress is being made in the Kohima district imphal has been held. In the Arakan district successes have been
scored. The threat to India is no longer what it was a short while ago Similarly the Americans in the Pacific are advancing from base to base. Generally speaking, therefore, the outlook in the Fat East is no longer of the critical character which counselled caution iii dealing verb individuals likely to cause internal dissension. Another factor may be found in the necessity which has arisen to deal with 51.101 practical concerns as the preven tion of famine and disease. The B.B.0 talk of Professor He!, Secretary of the Royal Society. on his recent visit to India to advise with regard to scientific progress there was instiuctive in th s respect When these practical matters can gain priority over political affairs, a step will be made towards securing Internet peace.
The release of tho Mahatma therefore may be regarded as a hopeful sign.
MASTER AND MAN ON THE FARM THOSE of our readers who have upheld the claim to consideration of the farm worker as well as of the farmer will have been pleased at the news that there is likely to be co-eperatiort between the National Farmers' Union and the Agricultural Workers' Union This latter body at its annual conference supported a proposal for " the establishment of a joint consultative committee between the two unions to consider matters affecting the agricultural industry as a whole." At a time when the position of agriculture is under review and an agreed policy endorsed by all sections of the agricultural interest has been unanimously adopted at a conference held at the headquarters of the Royal Agricultune Society, this is but fitting. The farm worker, living on oi near the farm, stands in much closer relations to his employer who frequently works side by side with his men. than does the factory employee. As a skilled craftsman, the labourer's interest in his job should be more than mercenary Consultation between the farmer and the more experienced of his workers should be normal—and such consultation is in fact common. Now that the educational standing of the agricultural labourer has been raised by newcomers trained in some one of the various agricultural institutes scattered about the country this relationship should he maintained and grow closer. Both sides can do a great deal to make it possibte
And, if such a relationship exists on the individual farm, it should be reflected in that existing in the indus try as a whole The agreed policy mentioned will have all the better chances if it obtains the support of the class on whose knowledge, skill and fidelity so much depends. Together, master and man should be able to put up a good tight to ensure the proper recognition of this fundamental indus
try, Let them lentember that their common future depends on defending Ihe rights and interests of the land against the financial and industrial locusts who would abuse it.
THE PROBLEM OF DOMESTIC SER v ICE NOT everybody will be satisfied by the Ministry of Labour's reply to the valuable debate on domestic workers initiated by Sir Henry Morris-Jones. The Ministry's strongest point was it would be impossible to " direct " women over 50, but there seems to be no reason why ways should not be found of organis nig domestic *el vice to the extent at least of giving priority to the needs of expectant mothers and mothers with young families, especially when hushands arc away. Nor will the public lit general be easile persuaded that here is not a very considerable waste of man and woman power in the Civil Service and even in the Services themselves, a waste that could he set right ▪ y introducing a greater flexibility of job and hours. The tact is that the problem as a whole has never been tackled because it is not considered really urgent. From the point of view of the immediate war-effort it may not he ae urgent as others, but from the point of view of the future health and stability of the nation it is. There is a certain irony in the thought that Nazi Germany which is doomed to defeat should in many matters, including this one, have paid pirates attention than we have to the future needs of its people. A further point that strikes one in reading the debate to which we are referring is that nationalist direction and even some compulsion may be necessary if the problem of domestic service is to he solved How do our Catholics who object to any State-ht tendency and yet. perhaps. are the victims of the maldistribution and absence of adectuate domestic service deal with the point ?
ANYTHING which has to do
with the supply of oil is today of international importance. The location of that supply must be a big factor in determining future policies. Therefore the news that the Canadian Government has permitted Imperial Oil, Limited. to grant an option on the oilfields in the neighbourhood of Fort Norman. Yukon. to the U.S. Government is, from various points of view. of interest. The disclosure, which was reported by the Times' Ottawa correspondent OD Monday. calls attention to the large oil resources which are being opened up in the Deminion In the Fort Norman area for instance. an nilfield estimated to contain between 30 000.000 and 60 MO 000 barrels of oil has been marked out Another Canadian source of suroly which is it course of de-eirmnicrt lies in southern Alberta. about fifty miles south-west ot Calgary Reporting on thie in 1919 the Canadian Deputy Minister of Minns and Resources stated that between 1925 and 1938 over ?ft 000 OM barrels bee been recovered and declared that all oil evert! who have exemined the southern Alberta e ilfields " regard it es teem, one of the world's major oil fields." At the thee at which he wrete cost of transport was confining the marketing of this supply to three Prairie Proyipces —Alberta, Saskatchewap and Mime toba. The prospect of further dis. coestics in the adjoinine foothills was met. erned in his report and it was asser Led that in many focal:ties in the foothills, surserficial reseal-Nene-es to the oilfields south of Ceegary exist and were being studied Canada's future prospects as a source of oil are bright Their restitution would add 2reatly to the importance of the Deminion. it is evident that there is no immediate fear of the world's supper giver oUt.Washington Car rely on resources nearer home
than the Middle East.