Page 4, 17th May 1946

17th May 1946
Page 4
Page 4, 17th May 1946 — UESTIONS OF TOE WEEK

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Locations: Trieste, New York, Paris


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lig The Editor

Revival of Monarchy PROBABLY one of the post-war developments that has most surprised the British public has been the news that the Greeks in the coming plebiscite are almost certain to vote in favour or a return of the monarchy. Despite the fact that our own country is the outstanding example of the success of the monarchical principle, adjusted to contemporary political and social needs, public opinion has long been taught to look down on continental monarchies and to consider them out-dated and " reactionary." This Anglo-Saxon view has greatly influenced continental feeling and played into the hands of political elements who see in a monarchy a check to their own largely mischievous ambitions. Unfortunately there is some substance in this opposition, for, with a few exceptions, contemporary monarchies have not been very satisfactoiy. But the wise man compares them with the alternative and works towards the goal of good popular monarchy instead of being content with negative criticism. And the day is no doubt coming when more and more Europeans, sick of divided careerist politicians for whom " the people " are merely a bargaining counter in the rpad to power, will look again to the one institution capable of standing above the political game and uniting people, as in this country. on a higher level than politics, providing leadership and being prevented from abusing that leadership. That is to say, more and more Europeans will look in this direction if they are encouraged to do so, for the alternative may well be a resumption of Fascism and dictatorship compared with which the monarchist record has indeed been highly sittisfactory.

Umberto H's Accession I N Italy it has been part of the post

war political fashion to denounce the monarchy which was inevitably associated with the Fascist regime. The fact that the monarchy survived Mussolini and that it played no small part in his overthrow is overlooked. To our mind it is a great misfortune that the Christian Democrats should have allowed themselves to follow the fashion and pronounce themselves republican. They gain little indeed by this means, for the mass of their following is likely to be monarchist at heart, and they lose' their chance of restoring to their country an institution which has been extremely useful in the past and was never more needed

than to-day. In fact the chief fault that can be found against the Italian monarchy is that it too rigidly adhered to its okvii constitutional position. With more spirit and less legalism it could have gone a long way towards solving the religious problem at an earlier date and it might have moderated the Fascist power. But this is hardly the sort of monarchic criticism that is fashionable.

The abdication of Victor Emmanuel is obviously a bid for the maintenance of the House of Savoy in the person of the far more popular Umberto. and we have yet to discover what the real strength of the monarchy with the people is. We have little doubt that if the Christian Democrats had had the courage to remain monarchist, or at least neutral, Umberto would have safely got his voles—and this despite the long campaign of vilification against the monarchy's record.

Britain and Monarchy APART faom the more general merits of the monarchic case, especially as it should present itself to a people who enjoy the blessings of successful monarchy, British interests are to-day closely bound up with the revival of popular monarchy—mid this is a point which Mr. Churchill realised. This becomes obvious when we consider our threatened position in the Mediterranean. Rightly, in our view, the Government has preferred to try to make friends with Egypt rather than to insist on the defence of the Suez Canal by unpopular soldiers and -sailors on the spot. But we cannot possibly disinterest ourselves from that vital area, and a glance at the map is enough to show that today there can be only one way of affording protection to the channel whose freedom is as important few European civilisation generally as it is for Britain and the Commonwealth. This way is the maintenance of the most friendly relations with genuinely independent countries all along the Mediterranean shores from East to West. With the exception of Albania and Yugoslavia. whose monarchy was basely sold for no benefit at all, every country concerned remains friendly and independent, though the future in most cases is still rather obscure. Though it is true that there is a very decisive geographical and racial distinction between Mediterranean Greece and Balkamic Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Rowland, in these days the threat of the Asiatic Russian weight on Greece's back is tremendous. All the more reason then why we should ensure stability in Greece itself, in Italy and her former colonies. in France and her colonies, in Spain, in Turkey and in the Arab lahds of the Near and Middle East. And can anyone seriously doubt that where there remains a natural monarchist feeling among the people, as in Greece, Italy and Spain, as well as among the Arabs, it is wholly in our interests to foster and stabilise it? The point is so clear that it is hard to deny that either ignorance or mischief-making must be at the bottom of the attempts to endanger still further this historical channel of Western culture.

Empire Consultation THOUGH we have no doubt that the Government has, taken the only decision poss,bie in Egypt, it could offer nothing but a verbal defence of its failure to bring the Empire into consultation on a matter that so vitally concerns it. This failure underlines once again the importance of forming a permanent committee or council of Empire, such as we recently suggested. And in this case the error goes beyond a tactless disregard of Dominion opinion. Article 8 of the 1936 Treaty, by which Egypt granted permission for the presence of British forces, declared that the Canal " whilst being an integral Part of Egypt, is a universal means of commun:cation between the different parts of the Empire." Even apart from Suez, there is the fact that Egypt is the headquarters of the Arab Federation, consideration• for which so complicates the Palestinian question—a consideration due to the fact that the Middle East bridges the route to India and to the Far East, a matter which is of concern to the whole Empire. To say, therefore, as Mr. Attlee did, that " the Dominion Ministers were not called upon to express agreement on a matter which was a United Kingdom responsibility " was, having regard to the circumstances. and particularly since some of the Dominions are said to object to the decision taken. a failure to realise the necessity of imperial co-operation.

Much more serious consequences arc likely to arise in the future from the now probable American loan which was negotiated without the benefit of Commonwealth co-operation and responsibility We scarcely yet realise the weakness of Britain to-day and the imperative need for a unity between the Dominions. amounting to something not far short of a federation. Deadlock in Paris

HE Russians are making it very plain in Paris that they have no use for the civilised conception of international freedom. It is surprising. however. that Britain and America have not attempted to offer the internationalisation of Trieste in return for the internationalisation of the Danube waters Perhaps they feet that it is useless to do so, but the offer, which is defensible in itself and possibly the ideal status for Trieste, which should serve as a port for Central Europe. would make yet clearer the reactionary nature of Russia's stand. The deadlock cannot drag on for ever. and the time is coming when the Western Powers must make definite decisions on their own. Unfortunate and risky as it may be, the only hopeful policy we see is to conclude our treaty with Italy on our own terms, and combine this with a declaration that we cannot accept any of the present arrangements in Central and Eastern Europe as final.

In New York. Russin seems to be exploring a new way of hindering the work of U.N.0.. namely. by absenting herself from the Council when she disapproves Here again the time is coming when the majority Powers must make the challenge and declare that the majority decision stands wherever the of the c

right of veto eatrois not used in the spirit

Such steps as these would mark the extreme limit of Russia's aggression and unmask the internal weaknesses of her pins.

The Catholic Solution for T,ERIE next step, A senses. lies with us Catholice—and in a somewhat unexpected way the policy we indicate can play into

Christian hands. No reader of the early history of the Church can fail to be impressed by the vigour of its apostolic spirit. It seemed to exist in order to spread, and convert the

barbarian. And that was how our Western civilisation was butt. Despite the steady progress of the foreign missions, that apostolic spirit has been widely lost. We no longei insenctively think in terms of spreading the Faith, but at best of hanging on to it, and it may be that our radical weakness lies precisely therm It is true, however, that we are faced with a difficulty that did not exist at the beginning. The modern totalitarian State possesses means of exclusion and persecution unknown in former times. And when we arc forced back to the fundamental truth that the only solution of the Russian problem is the, conversion of Russ'a, we can Sec no way of breaking through the iron curtain of Bolshevism. Hut Russia's ' aggressions have at least created weak spots in that curtaint Millions of Catholics lind themselves to-day within the Russian zone. What could not be accomplished by them if they still had the apostolic spirit of the early Church? And what could not be done by us if we could inspire them

to appreciate the apostolic value of their position? That is why a policy among the Western Powers of challenge to Russia and sympathy towards her non-Russian victime could be used by us to inspire our Cathore brethren with a spirit, not of civil revolt and sabotage. but of an apostolic crusade. This may be the longer road, but it is the only certain one.

Racketeering in Poland DCardinal Griffin's absence ; in Atnerica, M. Radziwill, counsellor of the Bierm-regime Embassy in London, has attacked in the Manchester Guardian his Eminence's sermon in Westminster Cathedral on May 5, Poland's National Day. Happily for readers of that paper, the Bierut regime has itself underlined what M. Radiiwill meant by the word ;racketeer " in his assertion " there are only camps (concentration) for German criminals and racketeers. in Poland " The latest " racketeer " is M. VOMIEISky, Secretary of the Polish Peasant, Par y (whose chief is vice-Premier). The secretary of Poland's strongest party. which happens to he anti-Communist. is, of course, accused of association with murderers and terrorists. What happens to smaller fry we may well guess. M. Radziwill's second point of any substance is taken up by us in the invitation to him which we feature on our front page.

U.S. Food Supplies THE fact that American gram exports for famine-stricken areas fell short, in the first four months of thie year, of that promised by 27,450,000 bbshels has increased greatly the seriousness of the situation. The Government's awareness of this is shown by its dispatch of Mr. Herbert Morrison to confer with President Truman. But why Mr. Herbert Morrison?

The question is not prompted by the passing over of Sir Ben Smith, the Minister of Food, who might he regarded as the obvious choice Asked why he was being sent instead of the Minister for the Department concerned. Mr. Morrison replied that this was " above a departmental matter." That is true.' It requires a man of large vision. knowledge of America and diplomatic ability. With all due respect to Sir Ben Smith, it can be scarcely argued that he fills the bill.

Does not the situation justify a choice that goes beyond party limits? Before the Election we argued that the victor, whether Labour or Conservative, might strengthen itself and, at the same time, promote national unity by co-opting outstanding men from the ranks of the

Opposition. The present is a case where such help might be co-opted for a temporary purpose. If that were done, the selection of our representative need not be in doubt. Lord Wootton, Minister for Food in the last Government, has just returned from the United States, where he has been in consultation with numerous public men. lie has expert knowledge of the question under discussion, has studied closely the food situation in America. Moreover, he is not a party man in the strict sense of the term.

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