By a Staff Reporter
In the early days of the war a cartoon which appeared in this paper and excited much comment at the time. depicted Truth as the first casualty of the war. 1 was forcibly reminded of this after hearing the Countess of Atholl reveal what is happening to Poland and other small nations now held in thrall by nominees of the Soviet Government, and few who heard the sad story could resist the conviction that unless the San Francisco Conference is able to influence a change of heart and mind in Soviet circles then the stifling of Truth will be one of the recurring tragedies of the Peace.
The Countess was speaking at the Philosophical Hall, Leeds, on Fricley at the inaugural meeting of a branch of the League of Furopean Freedom, and calmly and incisively she told what is happening behind the battlefront in Poland, Yugoslavia, Rumania and Bulgaria, and what might have happened in Greece if British troops,had not intervened in time.
The League, she explained, was representative of .all parties and varying religious beliefs. It stood fur freedom and justice and security; the sovereignty of the nations and the right of a people to live their own lives and choose their own Government without fear, interference and domination.
There could he no peace in Europe unless founded on these democratic principles which had been laid down in the Atlantic Charter by President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill.
The Prime Minister and Mr. Eden had affirmed their determination that Poland should be given a free choice in the election of a Government, but while the representatives of Britain, the U.S.A. and Russia were actually Meeting to help set up a Provisional Government, 15 of the Polish underground leaders had been spirited away to Moscow.
. There was still hope that if public opinion was roused in • this country justice Alight be done to Poland at the coming Coneerence. She proposed a resolution calling for the pledges ' to Poland to be honoured .and the setting Lip of an International Commission to ensure that the Polish people had a free and unfettered choice in the election of a Government.
The speakers in support of the resolution were drawn from different political patties and religious denominations. There were two Catholics, Mr. Brian Bell (chairman) and Alderman Frank O'Donnell (Labour). Ex-Alderman Eric Morrish spoke for the Liberals and Nonconformists.
Professor McLeod (Presbyterian) made a telling contribution when he asked us to draw a lesson from the face that the German people were now disowning any responsibility for the excesses of the Nazi Government.
There were only five dissentients to the resolution out of an audience of 250. Before the meeting opened the audience stood in silence for a few Minutes in homage to the late President Roosevelt.