do not understand how, having urgently indicated the moral and material defects of our recent foreign policy and the difficulties in which it has placed us, you can, in your last " Week By Week " article, present the conclusion, that one " cannot do anything now but acquiesce in the unfortunate position."
Surely, if we feel—as I do with you—that we are pursuing a mistaken policy, our plain duty is to do everything possible to bring that feeling home to the Government and so to induce a change, rather than by acquiescence to strengthen the Government in a conviction that there is unanimous support for its actions.
W. P. WADDINGTON. 21, Holroyd Road, Putney, S.W.15.
Ste,Have I misread your article in the CATHOLIC HERALD of last Friday, or Is it really the case that you have gone over to the people who would destroy a whole generation of our manhood, wreck Christendom, make a scandal to the heathen and depopulate religion all to prevent the Germans getting possession of one of their own towns in a way offensive to our sense of good mariners and decency? When you announced, the Friday before last, a "change of policy " I thought you meant you were coming out definitely on the side of British Union. So far, their paper, Action, has been .saying much the same things as you say, albeit in a very vulgar way: but vulgarity and veracity sometimes coincide, I notice. Now theirs will be the only paper left talking sense, and that paper is suppressed.
Druce's Hill House, Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts.
Site—With all respect, when you pontificate on politics and the international situation, I am not your only reader who gets restive!
Why do you so persistently call for an International Conference? What magic lies in the word conference which could create even the illusion of a settlement at this juncture, with the dictators and democratic nations in their present mood? Those of us who have lived through and seen the issue of such assemblies hear the word conference with terror and dismay. Another, now, would end in deadlock and disaster, leaving no alternative but the war all nations wish to avoid.
The only conference which might prove useful would be one between all the editors and reporters in the world— and it should be held in Berlin, or preferably under the Holy Father's auspices in Rome. Such a conference is, I fear, an idle dream; but, 4 it could be arranged, its buainess should be, primarily, to consider what steps can be taken to prevent the publication of news not derived from reliable and incontrovertible sources. What " Our Correspondent ' says in Dublin or Rome is not evidence.
With the cessation of wild rumours tension would instantly relax. In the matter of disseminating these, British editors are as blameworthy as those of the foreign "controlled ' Press, though the methods of the latter are more blatant.
A friend of mine who corresponds with a German girl was surprised to learn (from her) that England gave Poland thirty thousand pounds to join the non-aggression pact; and that we are bribing all the smaller countries on the same lavish scale. This fantastic lie is believed in Germany! 'My friend advised her correspondent to read the English papers; and now the earnest student says: " It is three-quarters lying on both sides!" Probably, if we in England took the trouble to study German and Italian newspapers we should be forced to agree with this considered verdict.
Why are false rumours published? To raise the circulation of the papers which give them prominence? It would be more desirable for such papers to go out of action through lack of support than for nations with no real cause of quarrel to go into it on account of much " sound and fury signifying nothing."
Do HOMY PONSONBY SENIOR.
7, South Hill Park, Hampstead, N.W.3.
A Sign of Weakness
SIR,—In all this political emotion out of which our Press is -flaking sustained capital, there is one attitude which seems nowhere to be adopted or even recommended. Our journalists, rising to the bait of Nazi abuse, can apparently think of no better counterstroke than to bawl at the top of their voices: "You're another!" Now I had always imagined that the game of international politics had more than a little in common with the game of poker. Everybody, I take it, has heard of the outstanding asset known as a " poker face." Quite apart from the greater dignity of an unruffled demeanour in the face of provocation, it has two important advantages: (1) it reassures your own side, and (2) it keeps the -nemy guessing. It used to be a trump card in British policy. Plainly, to keep the populace on protracted tenterhooks by means of scare headlines and irresponsible rumours is to play for mass-neuritis, disunion and inefficiency. The crowd apparently does not suspect that they are thereby made pawns in the Comintern plan of campaign.
Even Catholics, laymen and priests, are already squabbling over ethical dilemmas which may never arise. " 'Muffins is wholesome '—' Muffins is not wholesome,' says the doctor wery fierce." Meanwhile, one is moved to ask whether "the liberty of the Press " implies that all authority and initiative must be the unquestioned prerogative of the Left. Who is selling the pass?
37. Hollywood Road, S.W.10.
The End justify the Means?
Ste,--The "Week By Week " articles in the CATHOLIC HERALD are always interesting and instructive, but may I ask for information on one or two points in this week's "Britain Will Fight "?
In the first place there seems to be no question but that Hitter in March did commit a grave breach of faith in marching into Czechoslovakia. Now the point I should very much like to be quite satisfied in my mind about is this very case. I think it is admitted that Slovakia had received scant justice from Benes. It is admitted that Czechoslovakia was a centre of Freemason intrigue and an outpost of Godless propaganda under the control of Moscow. It is further beyond dispute,
I think, that Dr. Tiso did appeal to Hitler and that Hitler advised him to be patient, but promised him support if needed. This help was given, and I am under the impression that a. civil war, far worse than that of Spain, was thus averted.
If I am at all correct, it seems hardly just to brand Hitler as a scoundrel; I believe we put forward a somewhat similar excuse for oppressive actions in Ireland.
The main theme of Michael de la Bedoyere's article is an open criticism
of Britain's policy to Germany. He admits that there is a " white war," which is surely a polite name for "blockade." Why have we to wage such a war on Germany? It is not even necessary for the economic life of Britain (or France). What is the ultimate aim of British policy regarding Germany? If Danzig is 90 per cent. German what right have we to deny them "self-determination "? And had not Hitler and Beck practically reached an agreement when Britain went pushing her nose in, guaranteeing Poland against aggression when there is little proof that Poland was threatened, and when Britain was quite unable to help Poland directly and consequently had to initiate this ghastly alliance with Russia?
That Mr Chamberlain is a man of peace I do not for one moment doubt. If, then, Mr Chamberlain desires peace but is under pressure and unable to withstand this influence, can we place our trust confidently in him? It would seem that he is being asked to carry a burden too great for one of his age, moreover, is he able to fully grasp the danger of international finance and the new spirit of the age?
Finally, I must beg to disagree wholeheartedly with the writer when he says " our best hope lies in emphasising our determination TO FIGHT WHATEVER GERMANY MAY DO." Already we are waging a white war unjustly, now it is suggested that we are to have no scruples about any bloody war we may be asked to fight against Germany. Even supposing that Germany must be smashed, can the end justify the means?
R. N. CLARK.
The Hermitage, Callow End, Worcester.
SIR,—Michael de la Bedoyere's articles give one a most balanced view of world affairs and are invaluable, but there is one point not mentioned in to-day's " Week By Week " which seems to me fundamental when endeavouring to treat Germany with justice. God has permitted the British Empire to control about one quarter of the earth and, on the whole, however we may have behaved towards the inhabitants in the past. we are now endeavouring to do our duty to them and they are cornparatively free. Should we surrender any of them to the control of another power which has not these ideals of freedom and, moreover, persecutes Jews because they are Jews and is making it extremely difficult to give a religious education to children?
N. Harrow, Middlesex.
[Michael de la Bedoyere writes: It is perfectly consistent to take the view that we have no practical choice to-day but to stand behind the Government and the country over the Danzig question and yet to realise that the policy is mistaken. (It would be different were the policy immoral, but in view of Germany's methods of realising her aims we certainly have the moral right to resist the appeal to brute force.) We believe that the present situation could have been avoided had we from the beginning sought a constructive settlement in the light of the great changes in Germany, Italy and Spain. Instead, toe have adopted a purely negative policy of resistance to aggression, morally justifiable but leading only to war or an indefinite prolongation of a ruinous tension, a policy, moreover, involving us in uncertain understandings with unreliable countries. If war I,, to be avoided by this !yamble, we must support it in action and practice while doing all we can to avoid the clash through trying to broaden British policy while there is still time. We believe that this desire is shared by the British Cabinet, whose initiatives are however, impeded by an ignorant and blind opposition in all parties.)