Page 5, 23rd May 1941

23rd May 1941
Page 5
Page 5, 23rd May 1941 — NOTES AND COMMENTS

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THE present pause in military operations is somewhat surprising. It seems to indicate that Germany still feels the need to strengthen herself all round by means of diplomatic negotiations. The chief countries affected are Russia, Japan, France, Spain and Turkey. Hitler would undoubtedly like to see a widespread effort embracing all these countries, directed against the com hi ned interests of Britain and the United States. It is at least worth noting that this grandiose plan is a very different matter from the original hope of being able to isolate Britain and force her into early submission after the fall of France. The Germans cannot but realise that they still have to face a formidable task, that, in fact, the world war has only just begun.

And if it is true that Hitler feels the need of all this support, a certain encouragement is to be derived from the thought that he is unlikely to obtain it. Russia actually offers him the best promise, hut here the Nazis have to reckon with public opinion at home. It has been suggested that Hess's escape was partly at least due to his refusal to contemplate a full alliance with the Bolshevists whom he in particular hates. And though much of the Nazi recruitment has been from the ex-Communists of Germany, the main body of the Germans remains by tradition, history, character and religion strongly antiBolshevist. Whether Hitler can afford to provoke this latent hostility is doubtful. Japan's course of action will be set by America rather than by Hitler's needs, and there are some indications that Japan intends to remain on the side-lines until the outcome is much clearer. She has French Indo-China and Siam at her mercy, but her lack of oil must restrain her until she sees her way to attack the Dutch East Indies. Even so she would at least have to face the. prospect of a long and indecisive economic war from which Soviet Russia would be the only gainer. France and Spain are evidently in peril, but the moral factors against Hitler arc so strong that only a desperate endeavour to reach a quick decision will tempt him out of the way of slow diplomatic and economic pressure.


THE surrender of the Duke of Aosta at Aruba Alegi marks the fall of the Italian Empire. It is unlikely that under any circumstances it can be revived. Were the Germans to get their way. they would have little interes, in propping up again a weak ally whom they deeply despise, while we are unlikely to restore more than a token colonial territory to those who have helped the real enemy, In a way it is a tragedy, since Italy's claims to colonial possessions are obviously strong in any world order wherein colonies subsist. And Mussolini, had he played his cards properly, could have is successfully and as peacefully established Italy's colonial position as he restored Italian order. integrity and national spirit. The Duce in his Memoirs will, no doubt, explain that Britain and France failed to understand him, wherein he will be right, but the fully successful statesman allows for such things and shapes his path accordingly. Whatever the provocation it was a cardinal mistake for weak Italy ter attach herself irrevocably to an infinitely stronger ally, destined, in case of success, to be her master and to drag her down, in case of failure. More skill, more patience and, above all, a strcinger sense of moral values could have carried through the great constructive work which the Duce began so brilliantly. The return of Haile Selassie to Addis Ababa may raise ax many problems it solves, but many of the more civili people of the West will be shamed ti the words of his initial proclamatio .463I1

" Let us therefore rejoice, but in

• emit spirit of Christ. Do not reward evil evil. Do not shame Ethiopia by MA worthy of our enemies. 1 shall see tng* they are disarmed and given a safe

sage to the place from which they ca




CO-OPERATION between Catholic aster bait non-Catholic Trade Unions intazia France appears to have flourished sineed id the Armistice, and, curiously enoughia rili evidence of this comes both from !boatel who support Main and those who do not. According to a document smuggled out of France nine leaders. of the C.G.T. (corresponding to our T.U.C.) and three_.,._‘"' of the C.F.T.C. (the Christian Unions)m have signed a manifesto in support of°_,_°4 the autonomy of Trade Unions. Thismg document, significantly, breathes them°1_, spirit of the Christian teaching, and while denying Trade Union responsibilitrY, for the defeat, admits the errors of the' past, notably the too close union between' certain Labour leaders and " politicalta parties and a discredited Parliament." Ass, regime of planned economy for the seem vice of all must succeed the capitalistii...., regime, is another of its points. The chief responsibility for defeat is attributed to " the financiers and the international trusts, the great industrial companies and ihm employers' organisations which consti«wai toted veritable economic feutlalisms led by a small number of resporisible persons. These have systematically arrested the development of French industrial production by their financial operations, their export of capital and their refusal to follow other nations in the way of technical progress." oFrom the other side we have evidence IA f representatives of the C.G.T. and the C.F.T.C. meeting together in the new fost professional committees instituted by r Marshal Main. These committees work under the chief Committee for Professional Organisation which is to examine 4q the relations between labour and capital and " to plan an organisation which shall restore the idea of the intimate solidarity between men who, whether powerful or humble, collaborate in the common task." The Committee includes 21 representatives of employers, specialists, artisans, workers and employees. Its final task will be to submit a draft Law for a Statute of the Professions.


THERE has been much public outcry -1. against the waste of petrol both in the army and in civilian life. It is characteristic of this country that the outcry should have come from those who would be most affected by further restrictions, namely the general public. Presumably the Government alone knows the amount of oil stored, and it should therefore be in a position to release it in the right quantities. On the other hand the length of the war and the number of ships that may yet be sunk are unknown, and the public is instinctively right in protesting against any waste. The obvious fact is that public transport to-day is so excellent that comparatively little petrol need be used by the general public, and it would be far more economic to increase the public transport services and practically eliminate private cars. What reason can there be for issuing a basic ration to dwellers in large cities like London? In fact` the obvious economy would be to put an end to the basic rations altogether and issue supplementary coupons only to those who can make a good case for them. And if it is suggested that the revenue from the car tax 'would drop seriously, well the money remains in someone's pockets and can be extracted in other ways. As for those whose trade depends upon private car traffic, it is clear that these, if any, can most easily be absorbed into munition and other Government work.


TT is a pity that in the debate on the -1 adjournment last week Mr. Ellis Smith marred the strong and interesting case he made for the reform of our present system of disability pensions by sensational overstatement. The sight of men " wearing ribbons and disability badges, begging, playing instruments, displaying paintings and parading their poverty " is certainly a harrowing one. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately. the outward show is rarely a reliable guide to the facts, and we are inclined to endorse the • advice given by the Minister of Pensions that such cases should be carefully investigated before their professions are believed. These poor, pitiful pretenders may be the victims of an unjust social order and so more sinned against than sinning, but as a general rule their condition is not the result of the State's failure to do at least its minimum duty by those who have suffered wounds in its defence. It seems a pity. therefore, that -Mr. Ellis Smith should have given the Minister of Pensions so much scope for haymaking that his most important point was never taken up. Mr. Ellis Smith contended (and in our view contended very properly) that when a man has been disabled in the country's service the country owes him not merely the bare sufficiency to sustain life hut should as far as possible take into account the economic status he might reasonably have expected to have attained in the fullness of health and manhood. Thus if a lad of eighteen is rendered incapable of earning his living he should not be prevented by that from raising a 'family in due course in circumstances of moderate decency. We believe that Mr. Ellis Smith's contention is nothing more than simple justice, and sincerely hope that his demand will be pressed home by other members.

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