NATIONAL Hierarchies only
make public statements on current political affairs with the greatest reluctance. The reason for this is obvious (though it has been entirely disregarded when complaints are made about the silence and tact of enemy hierarchies). The Church is always most anxious to avoid saying anything which could be interpreted as taking political sides, partly because this might be denying the fullest political freedom within the moral law to Catholics themselves and partly because critics could use and twist any statement with the intention of proving that the Church is abusing her spiritual commission for political ends.
Thus. the unusual and indeed almost unprecedented step taken by the Hierarchies of Great Britain in issuing a long and full statement on "A Just and Lasting Peace " indicates the degree of acute anxiety felt to-day by our Fathers-in-Cod about the trend of world events. Its publication, just after the Yalta Conference (which may of course be a coincidence), throws further lien on an international agreement which has been widely applauded even though it sins grievously against the moral law and our 'own moral professions. and provides no serious guarantee of the international preservation of the basic human liberties.
Unfortunately, one of the greatest difficulties of the present times is the widespread and too oftea malicious abuse of language. Words whose essential meaning have been clear for generations are now used to clever an oppositi sense. Words like " freedom," "democracy," "elections" can cover actions diametrically opposed to the true sense, while words like " fascism," "collaboration," 'reaction " are freely attributed to anyone or anything which the person using them may dislike. The communique on the Yalta Conference is full of expressions which may mean what we most desire or what we hate most.
This difficulty is itself mentioned by the Bishops, and it makes any general statement subject to false interpretation. To get its full meaning For crunches we must, as it were, translate the abstract terms into actual history. We must think of the forced partition of Poland. of the disregard of the legitimate Polish einvernment, supported by the Polish fighters in the Allied armies and in Poland. 'of the imposition of unrepresentative Soviet nominees; we must think of elm Baltic States, of Yugoslavia, of Slovakia; we must think of the human consequences of the desperately harsh terms imposed on Italy—terms that now have to be rectified and which suggest what will happen when the millions 'of Germans
are given an unprecedented deal; we must think of the conditions of France, Belgiuni and Holland where the nourishment of human beings is disregaeded because of " military necessities " even though we ourselves remain very well nourished ; and, not lea% we must think of the threat t6 half Europe of Left totalitarianism (with utter disregard. for example, of religious traditions and liberties) imposed in the name of popular liberties.
Neglect of France
IT seems to be too much to expect that moral considerations should enter into the policies of the Big Three. But with this pure Machiavellism there also goes a political blindness that would have greatly distressed the author of /I Principe. Stalin insists on regulating affairs in Eastern Europe, but surely his writ does not yet extend to Western Europe. Yet this, apart from crass stupidity, could alone account for the Anglo-American treatment of France above all, but also of Italy and Spain. and not altogether omitting Belgium and Holland.
Whatever view we may take of events in France since 1939; it is amply clear that France remains potentially the most important country on the Continent after Russia, once Germany is defeated. And it is equally clear that for France to recover her full strength, she must receive the greatest possible understariding and sympathy from Britain and America. Recovered France, with her natural wealth and her great traditions, is the obvious leader on the Continent of Western Europe, And the closest possible understanding between Britain and France offers the one remaining guarantee of stability and civilisation this side of the Atlantic.
We do not pretend that the way ahead is easy, but only stark folly can explain the series of insults and belittlements, which have now culminated in General de Gaulle's refusal to meet President Roosevelt in Algiers. Similar considerations indicate, though less urgently, generous and tactful treatment for Italy and the smaller countries of Western Europe. Yet we do nol hesitate to throw away one potential friend after another in order to play up to a Great Power which has not once conceded a print of importance to the culture and way of life of Western Europe and America. Surely it is time somig Christian democratic challenge was made to the blindness which dictates our doom in Downing Street I
IVOR should we imagine that these " terrible mistakes in the field of international affairs are without their highly dangerous repercussions in
domestic affairs. Compromise with motel principle, and the deliberate lowering of our national prestige are opening the way towards something very like subversion in social affairs. Inevitably it must be so. To-day's god is clever and lying propaganda. Malicious exploitation of grievances and the bait of power and wealth are at all times great dangers. But when these fit snugly into the whole pattern of our national foreign policy, they become well-nigh irresistible for millions.
On another page this week we report the great advances made by CommunIan] into our tradition of free and democratic trade unionism. Internationally it has been impossible to prevent the planning of a world trade union organisation whose central purpose is to bring Left totalitarian unionism into the legal and democratic labour international. Henceforth there can be no guarantee of workers' rights against the State, With the totalitarian State as employer, the worker reverts to the status of serf, while the workers' boss enjoys the money and the power which the State slips into his pocket Many appeals have been made to Christian and Catholic workers to oppose these disastrous betrayals, but we must realistically recognise the truth that no opposition will be effective so long as Mr. Churchill continues to, think that basking in Stalin's smile constitutes a foreign policy.
MR. Law's reference in the Com
mons to the criticisms 'directed against Unrra 'and similar allusions made by Sir George Rendel at the meeting in London of the European Committee of Unrra were followed quickly by the report of the very frank and damaging remarks on the same theme made by Dr. Evatt in Australia, It is quite evident that, in the opinion of many in a position to know the facts, the great expectations entertained regarding this highly organised and powerfully supported body .have been disappointed. It would seem that there has been misunderstanding. Unrra's functions are concerned lees with immediate emergencies (though Sir George Bendel declared that it should be ready to meet these) than with the work of laying foundations for permanent rehabilitation in the devastated countries. Therefore those responsible are holding their hand with a view to future calls upon its resciurces. The provision of farm implements and seed to ensure future harvests, for instance. require preparations of a different character to that needed for the speedy dispatch of food and fuel to peoples without both, and perhaps it is not quite fair to expect that lima, formed for other purposes, should adapt itself to meet
these more urgent hut also more temporary needs.
The conflict of claims between immediate necessity and farseeing planning to avoid ramshackle reconstruction is inevitable. It is one of those diffieult choices forced upon us by the situation created by five years of wholesale destruction—a choice made still more difficult by the severity of the winter and the activities of forces delaying the achievement of political uoity in the countries concerned. For the reconciliation of impatient generosity and cautious statesmanship there is no formula. It' is one which must be worked out in practice with a combination of humane feeling and good sense dependent on changing circumstances.
BUREAUCRACY AND THE MACHINE
THE connection between the use
of mechanism in industry and bureaucratic forms of government has been often pointed out, and it is Interesting therefore to see this connection exemplified in a concrete case.
Opposing the plan for reorganising the mining industry put forward on behalf of the owners by Mr. Dingle Foot, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare, the miners. in the report advocating nationalisation of the mines which they are preparing for presentation to the Minister ef Fuel and Power, rely on the cost involved in the adoption by the industry of modern methods, The large-scale mechanisation which, they urgue, is necessary would mean expenditure beyond the power of the industry itself and therefore must be financed by the State, which could undertake the outlay only if the mines were nationalised.
The argument as here summarised is not necessarily conclusive, Such expenditure can be made in various ways which would still respect private ownership, and it is probable, that the report to be issued by the Government will steer a middle course between the proposals of owners and mineworkers. leaning " towards a substantial measure of public control, without going as far in the direction of State ownership as the miners would wish," this control being exercised by a public corporation representing the Governmetet, the employees and the employees.
But the interesting thing is that the need for State ownership is urged, not on the sstrength of some abstract ideology. but on account of what is alleged to be the practical situation created by the use of mechanism on a large scale. Socialist and Communist propagande merely exploits this state of affairs. The question is whether private ownership, a public corporation or the State can best meet the concrete situation.