AT the time of writing there is every indication that the bitterest phases of the whole people's insurrection against the Communist tyranny over Hungary are yet to come.
The Soviet-imposed Kardar regime has now been forced to despair of being able to come to terms with the people who insist upon a simple measure of true liberty and who are prepared to die rather than be denied what is the fundamental right of any human being.
In these conditions, the alternative can only he the turning of Hungary for an indefinite time into a torn and wounded nation, its life blood ebbing away in a deliberate act of sacrifice which, we pray, will one day raise the Hungarian people of today to heights of dedication and heroism that will conquer, on behalf of all free peoples, the dark and inhuman tyranny which cowers behind tanks to maintain the materially mighty empire of the Soviets.
But the very quality of this Hungarian resistance and the almost shamefaced admiration for it among those who still retain their freedom throws a sorry light on that international organisation which has been so lately praised and so often invoked as the hope of the torn world, the United Nations.
As M. Mollet has well said, strong and severe where free and high-minded nations of the world are concerned, the United Nations is content to remain impotent when the world itself is outraged by a return to barbarism and brutality. In this calmly accepted discrimination in the use of its authority, the United Nations acts in precisely the same way as any bully who fears strength but is prepared to adopt a high moral line when he senses that an opponent is physically weakened through the prickles of a lively conscience.
THE fear of a third world war, with the universal catastrophe which it would entail, is said to account for the international failure to react to the Hungarian tragedy with more
than sterile words. But short of any real danger of a third world war, there is much that could be done.
The Swiss Basler National Zeitung, in an open letter to Mr. Hammerskjold, has made an excellent suggestion for a gesture that goes well beyond words. The Kardar regime refuses to allow the SecretaryGeneral and United Nations observers to enter Hungary. Let the Secretary-General, then, and the appointed observers fly in an aeroplane carrying the colours of the United Nations and land in Budapest Would Mr. Hammarskjold's tender conscience consider this an act of aggression, comparable with the Anglo-French inter vention in Egypt ? Would it be a defiance of the authority of his own United Nations ?
One fears such would be the reaction — a reaction which throws a certain light on that Anglo French intervention which, whether politic or not. was certainly a protest against international disinterest in a potential Korea and evasion by the United Nations of its responsibilities for ensuring peace.
FAR, far more nobly and eloquently than anyone else, the people of Hungary have reminded the world that in the last resort man dare not and cannot evade the last sacrifice of preferring to die rather than to make a pact with evil. Few newspapers have been more earnest or consistent than
this one in their plea that recourse to force in the modern world may never be considered a normal instrument of policy, but the Christian mind, which is in the end the most realistic of all, insists that so long as evil has free play and so long as justice is sacrificed to expediency or an amoral " general will,' whether of dictator or a majority, the use of force may still remain the servant of justice.
Force, thank God, need not always be armed force in order to be effective. A United Nations aeroplane, landing in Budapest, would be technically an act of force, yet not of armed force.
In the same way, the imposition of economic sanctions is a kind of force, but not an armed
force. This is also true of the breach of diplomatic relations.
Such measures as these are difficult and nearly always twoedged. They therefore demand careful consideration, but they should be in the picture.
BUT behind all this lies the supreme necessity at the present time. It is the determination of all nations and of all people who can still distinguish between patent, massive wrong, on the one side, and possible errors of judgment that lead to controverted actions, on the other—to stand together against such crimes against humanity.
To shirk full responsibility for this by transferring that responsibility to a body like the United Nations as it is at present constituted is an immoral evasion which in no way essentially mitigates the guilt of condoning such crimes.
Nor let it be said that we are merely taking a roundabout route to denounce Communism as absolutely evil and to pronounce free countries guilt
Things have happened in Cyprus and in South Africa—to refer only to recent happenings —which seem to us equally to demand impartial and morally founded judgment, for in these places, too. men have been denied elementary justice through methods of trial that do not square with the natural law and denial of basic rights for accidental reasons of policy.
But even these things, while they call for a more insistent judgment thin we believe the Egyptian intervention to have done, are still not in the category of the ruthless brutality and inhumanity inflicted by a Great Power on a country whose inherent and traditional right it is to be free and independent.
TO imagine that mere words and a few non-committal resolutions are enough — words and resolutions extracted from politically reached majority votes in a United Nations whose members feel themselves free to disregard the Eternal and Natural LaW of God whenever they are politically afraid of proclaiming that law — is no less than international moral bankruptcy.
For the world as a whole it is
also suicidal. For if the only existing international authority thus condones evil of this magnitude, there can be nothing in the future which it may not condone. Can any civilisation survive in the long run such moral impotence ?
Only by the resolution and action, even to the point of heavy sacrifice and some risk, at least, of the peoples of the world who can assess the sheer evil of what has happened to Hungary can a future be ensured for the world which God made and found good.