Page 4, 13th February 1942

13th February 1942
Page 4
Page 4, 13th February 1942 — WHEN, in early January, the Egyptian Government, under the leadership

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WHEN, in early January, the Egyptian Government, under the leadership

of Hussein Pasha Sissy. broke off diplomatic relations with Vichy, King Farouk corn• plained that he had not been consulted. A crisis, fomented by Court intrigue, thereupon developed, which resulted in the Prime Minister's resignation. In the end Nahas Pasha, head of the Wafdists, Or Nationalists: took office and has announced that his Government will appeal to the country in March. It is probable that when it does so it will receive sufficient support to maintain it in office. There thus ends a situation which, in the present state of the war in North Africa. might have had ugly consequences for Great Britain.

Nahas Pasha, representing the Nationalist hopes of his country, has declared his intention of maintaining Egypt's sovereign rights. At the same time, he made it a condition of accepting office that the terms of the Anglo-Egyptian treaty should be fully observed. The political agitation has now subsided and there is every prospect that, providing Britain does not interfere in the internal affairs of the country (a point fully appreciated by our Ambassador, Sir Miles Isampson, who has given pledges in this respect), Egypt should enjoy a period of peaceful government in cordial co-opereting with this country.

The aims of the Wafdists are not only legitimate but constitute a safeguard against the intrigues of our enemies. Brlain has nothing to fear from a party which claims the right of self-Government, and it is a tribute to the reputation we enjoy that the leader who represents this party should also be pledged to maintain the treaty defining Anglos Pgyptinn collaboration.

DOMINION STATUS FOR INDIA ON several occasions we have adverted to the need for generous treatment of India. The need for such treatment remains, but the position which Russia is likely to achieve after the war both in Europe and Asia suggests remembrance of the danger that the freedom we grant may become the opportunity for others. Sir Stafford Cripps, according to the News Chronicle. urged the granting of Dominion status and told a reporter: " In my view the promise of Dominion Status to India should be made perfectly clearly in the terms Lord Balfour used in 1926, that is that the Dominion would have the right to remain in or go outside the British Commonwealth of Nations. That means the right to independence." It also menns the " right " to change one form of dependence for another, or, in other words, to transfer India's allegiance from Great Britain to a victorious Soviet Republic. That Russia has been carrying on propaganda south of the Himalayas and that, as a consequence, there is a section of opinion which would favour such a transfer, is well known. In her entertaining but scarcely impartial, book on The Riddle of the Kremlin, Eileen Bigland, who knows and admires Stalin, says: " The mind of Yosif Stalin is looking far ahead, and while the Western nations are grimly struggling to rid Europe of Nazism he is plotting in the Far F.ast to bring Communism to Asia. All over India his agents incite the brown men to revolt, teach them Marxian doctrines, instil into them the belief that the days of the British Rai are numbered and that the great awakening to true selfgovernment is at hand."

SELF-DETE RM !NATION nNE of the prime objects of the war Is

the securing of freedom for small nations to govern their own destinies. It is this which was assumed in the Agreements recently signed by the Greek and Yugoslav Governments and by Poland

and Czechoslovakia. The New Statesman and Nation, however, has its own views on the matter. It is too early, it tells us, " to treat these schemes as anything more than suggestions. If the Russians realise their hopes of beating Germany before the end of this year, their prestige and their leadership will be decisive in Eastern and Central Europe at least. The future of the Balkans will he decided not by exiled courts in London, but by the peasant armies still fighting with steadfast courage in the mountainous interior. It is the wish of the Russians to erect a big (which would not on the/ account necessarily be strong) Poland asPii buffer between the Germans end themselves. It should not be assumed that they will wish to regard the Balkan Peninsula as a buffer outside their range of influence. But we are sceptical about the old-world conceptions of a balance of power which inspire all these arrangements, sketched by conservative exiles in conservative I.ondon. The Europe that emerges after it has shaken off the German yoke will not be the Europe whose divisions and corruptions invited the Nazi attack, It may achieve a revolutionary fraternity and dismiss these timid variations of the old pattern of nationalism and sovereignty, in order to advance towards a wider union of peoples."

This is a very explicit confirmation of our own expressed fears, and it comes from a quarter which has certainly not been without influence in shaping our foreign policies.

Reading between the lines of Sir Stafford Cripps' recent speeches one can detect an awareness of Soviet intentions upon which Sir Stafford is at pains to put the best interpretation. His argument comes to this: let us be friends with Soviet Russia so that we may be able to curb its post-war ambitions, This is perhaps not quite what his greatest admirers expected of him.

Let us repeat what we have so often said before—and long before the entry of the Soviet into the war—that we fully recognise the need to find a modus vivendi with all Powers, and this, of course, includes Soviet Russia. This is commonsense — commonsense, by the way, too often flouted in the case of Germany, Italy and Spain before the war. But as we objected to Nazi pretensions to make large tracts of Europe subservient to her own interests, so we object to Russia claiming to do the same. Our olejection is all the stronger in that we firmly believe the Soviet regime to be as immoral as the Nazi.

IBERIAN NEUTRALITY THE announcement that President Cre mona—first elected in 1928 after the Revolution which disposed of the corrupt politicians previously in power—has been elected by a majority of over SO per cent. calls attention once more to the unity of Portugal. Although the rumourmakers have been busy here as elsewhere insinuating the existence of pro-Axis sympathies, the people have now shown themselves well content with the policy followed by President Carmona and his chief Minister, Oliveira Salazar. Portugal is to-day the most peaceful and

prosperous country in Europe. Under these circumstances it is most unlikely to risk being involved in a war that must

bring misery in its train. Salazar his preserved peace not only by a positive policy designed to achieve that end, but by the still better method of building up a healthy commonwealth capable of resisting the microbes from which are bred the hopes and fears that lead to war. It is discontent and the restlessness that engenders which give these microbes their opportunity, arid Portage], as the re-election of Carmona shows, is neither discontented nor restless.

A recent article on " The Neutrality of Spain " in The Times reveals the fact that the rumour-makers have been similarly unsuccessful there. " Up to the late autumn of 1940 few Spaniards doubted a German victory," says the writer. " although so intense was the general desire not to become involved in the war that German blandishments met with very little response." Seeing that, according to the same authority, "an increasing number now believe that Germany will ultimately lose the war, the chance of Spain taking action in favour of the Axis is, since then, considerably lessened."

THE CITY EDITOR SAYS— AT have we to learn in the economic domain, in industry and agriculture, from Russia? The only useful answer to such a question is one that both is and can be accepted as being free from "ideological " bias: and it is now perhaps, for she first time in this generation, possiblento give such an answer, though very few people are qualified to give it.

1 do not claim to be among those, but my feeling is that we have probably more to learn from Russia in agriculture than in industry. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the whole Soviet revolution has been the transformation of Russia's agriculture from one of small-scale peasant cultivation of the most primitive kind into large-scale mechanised farming, making every possible use of science and invention." • W1-1 It is just as well that the writer of this statement should disclaim the authority of the expert, for he happens to be the News Chronicle's City Editor. It may interest him, therefore, to know that those who really are experts, both here and in America, are coming round to the view that the large-scale farming advocated is, in the long run, disastrous. Moreover in Russia itself it can be demonstrated by Soviet statistics that collectivisation has been an economic failure. We hope to do so in a future issue. The assertion that the displacement of a peasantry owning its own land in favour of State farming has no ideological implications is a curious instance of the diflerent interpre:ation that can be put on the same words.

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