Page 4, 2nd April 1942

2nd April 1942
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Page 4, 2nd April 1942 — Notes and Comments
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Notes and Comments

INDIA—THE PRACTICAL QUESTION

THE scheme announced by Sir Stafford Cripps as a solution of the Indian problem bears all the marks of British capacity for compromise. It is also an exhibition of our desire to give free play for native opinion. One has only to con trast this plan with that which, under similar circumstances, would have been adopted by Germany to see how definitely the idea of coercion has been rejected. It is by no means a perfect plan, but it is difficult to understand how anything else could have been at present proposed.

Ultimately, it may be accepted. • The trouble is that by postponing action to the end of the war, the opportunity is given for discussions which must

weaken the war-effort. The object of Sir Stafford Cripps' journey was to bring about such unity as would enable India to throw herself wholeheartedly into the struggle which the British Empire and its Allies are waging. Instead of that, it may be found that he has thrown into the arena an'apple of discord. As the Times confesses, no section of opinion will be altogether satisfied, and it is more than likely that the expression of the dissatisfaction which, for various reasons, the different sections will feel may take precedence over the practical task of preparing the country to meet the threatened Japanese attack. A wordy warfare is the last thing we could wish in India at the present time. Yet even the risk which this involves must be run rather than have recourse to Prussian methods.

A MOSLEM MINORITY

A S an instance of the complexity which ' characterises the Indian problem, take the position of the Moslems. Out of every 100 persons in India, 68 are Hindus and 22 Moslems. But the latter, though in a minority, are fihnly determined not to enter into any arrangement which involves submission to the Hindu majority.

The permission given by the draft of the British proposals handed in by Sir Stafford Cripps to any dissenting section to abstain from participation in the Union applies to provinces and not to communities. Except in the North-West Province, no province has such a large Moslem majority as will enable the Moslems easily to exercise an option in favour of a separatist policy. The community, in fact, is a scattered one, and, accordingly, these local minorities, under the plan submitted, will have to accept the ruling of the Hindu majority. The differences between Hindu and Moslem are not merely religious. There is, on the Moslem side, the pride begotten of bygone conquests, and, on the Hindu side, the memory of oppression. But the inflamed feeling which antagonises these two communities owes something to the method adopted by those who laid the foundations of our Indian Empire. Lord Elphinstone, the Governor-General in 1858, endorsed the idea that " our endeavour should he to uphold in full force the (for us, fortunate) separation which exists between the different religions and races; not to endeavour to amalgamate them."

. GERMAN MORALE

WHILE the thaw on the Russian front heralds the approach of the time set for the loudly-announced German offensive, it is itself an obstacle to the launching of a big counter-attack. Nothing has yet happened, nor is there evidence of preparations on a large scale, to confirm Hitler's boasts. Nevertheless, it must be recognised that the incessant attacks to which the German army has been subjected throughout the winter have failed to free either Leningrad or the Crimea from danger, and that the whole long line between these two points is still under control of the Nazi High Command. Nothing like a rout is anywhere reported.

This facade may be deceptive. We do not know what effect the delay in what they have been led to regard as the inevitable victory has bad on the German people. As regards the army, there is one weak point which must be taken into consideration. In order to maintain his position, Hitler, it seems, has been obliged to throw some valuable reserves into the fighting line. In addition, his forces are now mixed. Italians. Rumanians and a small proportion of Hungarians have been utilised, and these, it is certain, cannot be expected to show the fighting spirit which has been manifested by the Russians. This is a factor which may prove decisive.

It is because so many incalculable elements are involved that the fighting of the next few weeks is so critical. It will reveal the effect which the winter has had on the morale of the opposing forces. A decision may be far ahead, but coming events should inform us as to whether Germany still possesses the recuperative power necessary to carry out its programme of advance. If it has not that power, the end, though still far off, will be in sight. If it possesses that power, we may be in for grim days.

INTERNATIONAL FINANCE

IN the Sunday Express Raymond Gram

Swing relates a story, brought out in evidence laid before the Congressional Committee, concerning the dealings, since the beginning of the war, of Standard Oil with a German firm, LG. Farbenindustrie. The former, it seems, undertook to deliver to the latter certain by-products of oil, useful for military purposes. He also tells how the same Company " made a synthetic rubber called Butyl . . . and turned over the full information to the Germans . . . Whilst American and British concerns were unable to obtain Butyl samples, Standard Oil sent the full information to.the Pirelli Corporation of Italy, because 1.G. Farbenindustrie held the Italian rights." Standard Oil, according to the same authority, has had disloyal communications with Japan. The witness who made these allegations before the Congressional Committee stated that " there was no essential difference between what Standard Oil did and what other companies have done to restrict production of magnesium, tungsten, carbide, drugs, dyestuffs and other critical war materials." Raymond Gram Swing comments: " This, of course, is no brand new story in Great Britain, where British industrialists have developed intimate cartel relationships with Germany."

He is wrong in saying that the story

is not new in Great Britain. In the sense of being known to the general public, it certainly is new. But there is no reason why it should remain so. Secrets of this kind, whispered in clubs and in financial circles, should be dragged to the light, that a suffering world may know whom it has to thank for the continuance of its agony.

ECONOMIC FEUDALISM

THE Economist most seasonably draws

attention to the dangers inherent in the war-time developments of our industrial organisation. Nearly all industries are now under controllers chosen, and often even regiunerated, by their own trade associations. The result has been to turn each trade into a powerful and semiautonomous barony, or rather to put the finishing touches to a process which has been energetically developing over the past decade. " The system which has grown up," says our contemporary, "might almost be called that of the Corporative State save that it has lacked the firm supervision of an energetic State administration . . . the best name for it is economic feudalism." And we might add that it differs from the Corporative or Guild system at their best, in that the Guild was (i) representative of men as well as masters; (ii) controlled by the local popularly-based authority, and inspired from the body of citizens (or consumers) and not from the business itself or the State. But if we cannot manage such radical alterations at present, much could be done by the abandonment of the preposterous incommunicativeness of

published company accounts. To this we might add a necessity for a change in the function of the auditor such as was sketched out recently in certain revolutionary articles in the Accountant to which attention was drawn in our pages. If company accounts published all the details which we have the right to exact from a trustee, and if auditors were given training and powers extending far beyond those of mere financial check, then suitable publicity could be given to every instance where a trade was not giving

the public the best possible service at the • lowest economic price. That, in our opinion, would be more than sufficient to meet the need.

THE DOCTORS ORGANISE

THE address given by Lord Dawson of

Penn before the Medical Society of the Military Hospital, Shaftesbury, on " Medicine and the Public Welfare,' dealt with a subject of growing importance. Lord Dawson said: " It is surely apparent that the rearing and training of a healthy body and the education of its occupant are two processes so interdependent that a Wstem of health centres is as necessary as a system of schools, and when it is recalled that the integration of health is in many of its aspects a matter of education, the parallelism becomes closer."

The scheme, which is being furthered by the Ministry of Health, the Nuffield Provincial HoNpitals Trust and the Planning Commission of the British Medical Association, is based on regionalism. A teaching hospital linked to a university will, wherever possible, be the focus of the directing centre of the region. As outlined by the speaker, the plan shows careful consideration for all the interests concerned and such tentative efforts as have been already made in the organisation of health services are giving satisfaction.

Developments are well worth watching because this is a case where an important profession is co-operating with the State on behalf of the Interests it represents, and the methods it adopts may prove a model for the organisation of other crafts, trades and professions in their relation to the State. At the same time in a subject so closely related to morals, Catholics (and Catholic doctors in particular) must remain on the alert to see that Christian principles are not betrayed in the name of experts going beyond their proper field.

AMERICAN CATHOLIC PACIFIbM

PACIFISM is more strongly represented

in American Catholicism than among ourselves. Deeply tinged with that character have been the editorial articles which Father Gillis has been contributing to the Catholic World and still more definite is the stand which Dorothy Day has taken in the New York Catholic Worker. To these Americanborn writers we can add the name of Dr. Orchard, whose article on the subject in the last issue to hand of the Catholic Worker consistently upholds the view which he voiced when, during the last war.The spoke from the pulpit of the King's Weigh House Church. But although these prominent names represent similarity of outlook they indicate different ways of approach to the

question. Father Gillis' opposition to American intervention arose from his isolationism, that of Dorothy Day, on the Other hand, is inspired by a deep sense of international brotherhood.




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