By Michael de in Bedoyere
THE Paris Correspondent of the
• Times has reported that a writer in Le Monde has argued that the only hope for Europe lies in a 1-ranco-German alliance. A European army, he says, must be essentially a Franco-German army.
This is one of the most interesting comments of the week, and one of the most hopeful. At first sight, it goes clean contrary to the views of General de Gaulle, the most extreme of the French nationalists. Yet does it ? In his recent press interview the General made one statement that was outstanding. He pointed out that if France was again invaded no Frenchman would he found ready to do the June 19 business again. In other words, the General was saying that a de Gaulle would not appeat again to save France from subjection--that, in fact, the only choice before France to-day is security or a non-resisting defeat.
If de Gaulle thinks that things are as bad as this, he must logically be prepared to find security where he can get it and at the expense of any prejudice or distaste. How then is French security to be guaranteed in the present state of international affairs ?
The only possible answer, in the tight of Russian behaviour. is that the security of France can only be guaranteed by a military Western Pact which mobilises all the potential strength of the Western world. If the world is going to he divided into two. then it is insanity to allow the ideas that governed the dead conception of a " one world " peace to influence the totally different ideas that must govern a " two world " armed truce. It is insanity to allow anything to weaken the defensive system of the free half of the world in its resistance to the totalitarian half. in other words,
is insanity to keep up the FrancoGerman quarrel and neglect the defensive and economic potentialities of Western Germany.
TWO main French objections
could be made against this reasoning. First, must we admit that the " one world " ideal is dead ? Second, is there any guarantee against a German " stab in the back "?
Every day brings fresh evidence of the Soviet determination to resist overtures for a sincere constructive settlement. But apart from this a cool judgment of Soviet behaviour since the war must now force one to the conclusion that any change of Soviet policy would be suspect. That is to say, no serious statesman could to-day be satisfied with any offer that Stalin, Vyschinsky or Molotov might make. The nature of the Soviet regime, the avowed ends of Communist policy and the way in which Moscow has acted since the war all indicate that a very long period of probation and " good behaviour " on Russia's part
would be necessary before anyone could feel assured that any Russian change of heart was genuine. This conditions puts out of court any early return to the " one world " ideal, whatever Russia may do.
More plausible are fears in the West of a German " stab in the back." It would take far more space than we have at our disposal to argue out the possibilities and probabilities here. But even taking the worst possible view of German intentions—and we for our part certainly do not take this view—it is extraordinarily difficult to see what real advantage the Germans would gain by buying unity at the cost of Soviet overlordship in company with the other Soviet vassals, each one of which counts the hours until the day of liberation. Only the. most appalling mistakes on the part of the West could tempt Germany to such a course. On the other hand, the Russian policy has had at least the advantage of going a long way towards removing Western fears about the possibility of another German attack of megalomania.
The Case of Italy
THE logic of the position to-day,
therefore, points to a courageous acceptance of the desirability, indeed the inevitability, of the rearmament of a Western Germany, treated in all respects as an equal and intimately linked with the fortunes of the Western world and most of all with those of France. This policy would have the additional advantage of enabling Western Europe to stand on her own as a considerable Third Force, independent of Soviet Russia and in a position to bargain with the United States. We ourselves do not greatly fear the so-called American commercial imperialism, but there are many in Europe who would feel happier if Western Europe could feel a greater independence vis-a-vis America, especially among the Left to Centre parties.
If Germany is to be treated in the way we indicate. Italy deserves an even more generous approach. Mr. de Gasperi has been discussing Franco-Italian relations, which at the moment are excellent, and the arrangements for Italy's inclusion in the Western Pact. These arrangements should be raised to a new plane. Italy should he rearmed and the question of her colonies should be reopened on entirely new terms, At present. there is much complaint in Italy over Britain's views about the future of her colonies. The situation is much too dangerous to allow views derived from an entirely different past to overshadow present realities. Italy is geographically a vital strategic Power, traditionally on the side of civilisation and liberty. She needs colonies for sociological, economic and defensive reasons. Her reasonable demands must be met.
THE EXAMPLE OF HUNGARY
persecution of the Church
—up to the very person of the Cardinal Primate — in Hungary, reveals very clearly the true nature of the relations between Christianity and Communism, now being discussed at some length in the correspondence of the Times.
The question whether Communism is by its very nature and aims the enemy of Christianity, though easily enough answered on the general record and in the light of the texts, may at the moment be secondary. It is quite sufficient to follow the actual relations between the Church and the Communising rulers of the vassal States of Soviet Russia. Let us entirely get out of our minds the irrelevant red herring about capitalism. The Church's doctrine on this subject has been made clear time and again in Papal encyclicals and Episcopal pastorals. And whatever the practical behaviour of individual Catholics, the economic and social question has in fact nothing whatever to do with the practical treatment of the Church in Hungary, Poland and elsewhere. The Church is being persecuted in these countries because it stands for the spiritual and moral freedom of the human person.
This freedom is proclaimed by many, but when it comes to the test the liberal can only rely on his own courage and his own feelings. Such courage and feelings have made many a grand liberal martyr in our times, but these are inevitably in a small minority. The Catholic, on the other hand, is supported by a powerful devotional, theological and philosophical system and feels himself held up by a visible organisation which cannot be brow-beaten. Even so, many will 'fail. But the Church will not fail, nor will large numbers of the faithful. No form of totalitarianism. and least of all the naturally anti-Christian Communist one, can tolerate such opposition, especially in a Catholic country.
MR. GALLACHER LENDS A HAND
OUT of a sense of fair-play, no
doubt, the Times, in giving 12 inches of its space to a letter on " Christianity and Communism," by William Gallacher, has published one of the most prepos terous communications in its long history.
Mr. Gallacher, like anyone else, can quote Scripture for his purpose. but he evidently has no idea of the purpose of Scripture. The point of the Communism of early Christians was entirely supernatural, and it is perpetuated; if anywhere, in the religious orders of the Catholic Church. It has no relation whatsoever with the material purposes, whether good or bad, of Marxism. St. Paul, it is true, would hardly have been welcomed by the materialist governments and classes of the West, but the " ruling class" of Communist countries would have " hounded and hated " him, as they " hound and hate " those who seek to follow his teaching to-day. And when Mr. Gallacher argues that since " no good aim can be achieved by evil means," therefore the Communism that contains some good cannot persecute, he takes leave of all history and all logic.
Frankly, we prefer Communists to stick honestly to their antiChristian Marxist brief than to try, as Mr. Gallacher himself puts it, " the art of standing upside down," and for Christians to stick to their anti-Marxist brief. Marxism is a heresy.
TEMPTATIONS FOR THE POLITICIANS
THE most loyal supporter of the
Labour Party must to-day, if he is honest, be asking himself some rather awkward questions— and if he is a Catholic, such questions will particularly interest him, since they are essentially moral questions.
For example, whatever the economic pro's and con's of nationalisation, he should honestly face the problems of the immense patronage Involved in the taking over within a short period of time of gigantic organisations. Given human nature, this can but lead to all kinds of undesirable situations on the border line of clear right and wrong. Equally, we know what temptation lies in the administration of a multiplicity of controls—though this last difficulty applies in a measure to any modem party in power.
On the other side, there is at the moment a grave temptation before the Opposition, namely; recklessly to denounce an austerity regime that is imperative in our economic position because it is so easy to get votes from the less responsible and most malcontent of the population. That way lies disaster.