Page 5, 30th August 1940

30th August 1940
Page 5
Page 5, 30th August 1940 — NOTES AND COMMENTS DIRECTORS' FEES
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NOTES AND COMMENTS DIRECTORS' FEES

HEIR OF FORTY KINGS

IHE death of the due de Guise, the head of the house of Orleans, will not mean a great deal to most Britishers. But it has a double interest to-day. Few Frenchmen in 1940 can surely read without some sort of wistfulness the legend that appears on every issue of the French royalist paper, Action Francaise, in reference to the pretender to the throne of France: " heir of forty kings who in a thousand years made France." French monarchy, for all ?ts faults, never dragged France down to the depths now reached by the third Republic. In the second place the death of the Duke must give wider freedom and scope to the comae de Paris who for some years has acted in the name of his retired father. Those who read in the past the comte de Paris's paper, Courtier Royale, realised that this comparatively young French prince had certainly shed the faults of his ancestors. He has stood for a radical and vigorous social programme, very much in conformity with the spirit of the social encyclicals, while at the same time lacking nothing of traditional French patriotism and hatred of tyranny. Where he stands to-day is not clear. Nor is it easy to say whether a return to the monarchy is acceptable to the French people as a whole. But to 'the outside observer it would certainly seem that the restoration of a constitutional French monarchy with the comic de Paris as King would prove an admirable solution to France's difficulties.

ANOTHER COT SCANDAL

TT is a scandal that M. Pierre Cot, Air Minister in the French Popular Front Government, should be allowed to launch across the world accusations that Main and Weygand gave their country to the Germans by refusing to destroy anything that might delay the German advance as well as by refusing to utilise the major part of the French Air Force. Such accusations are, and must be at the present stage, unfounded. What is not unfounded and what indeed is now clear history is M. Cot's own failure to develop the French Air Force, partly in order to curry favour with the Sovietised strike leaders on whom the Popular Front relied and partly because he was more concerned to help the Reds in Spain than to do his duty in France. As Reginald Dingle has written in his carefully authenticated book Russia's Work In France: "The evidence of supply of French aircraft to Spain is overwhelming, and only the gravity of the international situation at the time of the Austrian incident prevented a first-class political scandal when the new Air Minister revealed to his colleagues and to a number of journalists the condition in which he had found the department on the removal of M. Pierre Cot. The facts published in France and unchallenged were significant enough." If P6tain and Weypnd were Indeed doubledyed traitors, Cot is certainly not the person to open his mouth on such subject,

ITALIAN DESIGNS IN GREECE

THE war of nerves which Italy is I• waging against Greece is intended to prepare the ground for demands whish will undoubtedly amount to giving Italy bases in the Aegean Sea. The most probable course of Italian policy would consist in an attempt to cut a way through to Salonika, via Macedonia and the valley of the Vardar, by raising the question of Macedonian autonomy and that of the rights of the Albanians in Greece. Such a move would secure for Italy a base of operations against Turkey and bring Greece into the Italian orbit.

It has been argued that Berlin would prevent any move on the part of Mussolini which could endanger the peace in the Balkans. It was believed therefore, since Turkey and Britain were standing by Greece, that claims on Greece would be withdrawn. The latest reports. however, indicate that Berlin is in complete agreement with Rome and that hopes that Hitler would prevent Italy from taking action have been frustrated. le seems therefore that Berlin is no longer able to restrain Italy's expansion.

The moves now contemplated in the Balkans by the Axis powers will reves1 whether Russia really regards with concern their expansion in these regions. The Soviet may not move or may ask merely for the comrol of the Black Sea Straits; or else may take a share in the spoils by obliging a pro-Soviet Bulgaria to retake Dede-Agatch from Greece in order to create a barrier between Italy and Turkey on which Russia could rely-unless the Soviet would prefer to occupy Bulgaria 'themselves, if the Soviet are altogether opposed to the Axis advance they will no doubt advise Turkey to assist Greece. If therefore demands are presented to Greece, and Turkey does not stand by her, this will simply mean that 'the Soviet are once again a partner in the proposed redistribution of territories.

DOING GOEBBELS' WORK

IT is a curious reflection on the vagaries of our censorship that we allowed our popular Sunday press to inflict on our suburbs this week-end that sense of panic which we try and spare the Americans by holding up correspondents' cables for precious hours. Sunday morning headlines were such as to send two not over excitable men of my acquaintance to Fleet Street, expecting to see it in ruins. On Monday morning booking office clerks were asked by anxious workers whether they could get through to the city. Headlines of horrific import combined with the minimum of detailed information, taken together with the glow in the sky, had laid the city in ruins for millions of suburbans. It seems to me wo could hardly do Dr. Goebbels' work better for him even if we triccL

BOMBS ON EIRE

THE German bombs dropped on Eire may have been due to some individual's irresponsibility. None the less they will remind Irishmen of the peril in which their island stands. Few in Ireland will be prepared to deny that Germany will use their country in exactly the way it suits them withoui the slightest regard to law or neutrality. On the other hand we hope that Irishmen will have noted the recent speech in the House of Commons in which it was made clear that many of our shipping losses to-day are due to the lack of naval bases, voluntarily surrendered by us, from which both islands could be adequately protected. Nor can they surely expect that under the present circumstances the vital defensive positions in Northern Ireland could be given up without a clear understanding for joint defence. We ourselves are fully satisfied that partition should be abolished in the name of justice, but it is fantastic to suppose that any nation in a time of dire emergency would dangerously weaken itself in order to carry out an act of restitution about the rightness of which there is still sincere debate. Nor do we think that there exists even an abstract moral duty to do so, for the carrying through of a great change of this kind demands prudence and regard for the actual circumstances. It should be possible, given good-will and realism on both sides, to create even to-day the circumetances in which the act of restitutken can be prudently made and in the genuine best interest of the two countries. On our side one of the conditions would undoubtedly be a much clearer definition of the Christian character of our peace aims.

FRANCE"

SOME numbers of France, the new daily in French have now been published; but hopes that the spirit of Catholic France would speak through this new paper were apparently at least previous. Even the front page message from General de Gaulle for the first issue contains no mention of France's Catholicity. " Those who can believe or make others believe," says the General, " that /a fiber:if, Ia valetir, In grandeur, can revive under the enemy's law are fools or cowards." It is true enough; but what of la religion? Nor is the Minister of Information's own felicitntion very reassuring: "The French have long been the apostles of liberty and the standardbearers of progress. They have been the advance-guard of the European struggle for liberty." That and no more!

An editorial defining the paper's policy dedicates the paper to liberty from the German yoke to which surely every Catholic will surely join his own good wishes and prayers. We should do so the more freely and happily were we sometimes to find in the columns of France some word of Notre Dame des Victoires or Sainte Jeanne d'Are. the Chancellor of the Exchequer for information concerning the appropriation by the Bank of England of an additional £30,000 a year for directors' fees. It appears that this sum was required so that the number of whole-time directors could be increased. Asked exactly how the money was being allocated and to whom it was being paid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer could give no answer but undertook to obtain this information. This in itself is curious enough, even if we still accept the theory that the Bank of England is an independent, private institution. One would have thought that this was the sort of thing with which the Chancellor of the Excheiluer ought surely to be acquainted. But there is more to come. When Sir Kingsley Wood gave the desired details in the House a week later, he was asked by Mr. Granville whether he regarded these payments " as being consistent with the appeal to the country for economy and equality of sacrifice." Sir Kingsley Wood's reply was—" Of course this is a matter which concerns the proprietors; I am interested only so far as taxation is concerned."

But after all one of the most obvious means of evading taxes is the payment of increased remuneration to directors and executives. It is not suggested that the Bank increased its directors for this reason, but other concerns may certainly be trying to do so, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not really appear to have any real means of stopping them. In these circumstances, the Chancellor's contention that the amount paid in directors' fees was purely an internal matter and concerned nobody but the bank is a little odd. After all, that £30,000 must directly or indirectly come out of the public's pocket and the public might well expect its representative to show a more pressing curiosity about it.




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