THE main thesis of Molotov's report to the seventh session of the Supreme Soviet was friendship with Germany based on the Soviet-German Pact which " assured Germany a feeling of security in the East." The allusion to relations with Italy was most significant and appears to hint at an understanding between that country and Moscow on the Balkan question for which German diplomacy had laboured so persistently. 'This is of paramount importance since it was Italy's distrust of Moscow which stood in the way of any active collaboration between Germany and Russia in the Near East. If Molotov's pronouncement means that Italy's suspicions have been dispelled, we should anticipate important developments in the Eastern Mediterranean before the winter. The reproof to Turkey and Iran for the alleged flight of their 'planes over Baku and the declaration that relations with the Balkan States were " normal" may be an indication as to Moscow's next move.
As regards Japan a most important statement was made : "She desired to improve her relations with the Soviet Union " and " such an improvement is possible." China was dismissed in a vaguely friendly utterance. The reference to Japan's southern expansion may show the way in which Russo-Japanese relations may be improved. Japan was driven towards Northern China ahd Manchuria by necessity, actually she always coveted the rich tropical regions of Indo-China and the South Sea Isles.
Mr. Matsuoko. the Foreign Minister, outlined a new greater Eastern Asia which it is Japan's mission to establish and which, according to American reports, would include the Netherland East Indies and French Indo-China.
As we said last week a complete understanding between Russia and Japan may already have been reached and it is possible that Japan will make considerable concessions in Mongolia and Manchuria in exchange for a free hand in Southern China, Indo-China and the East Indies. This would probably involve her in war with both America and ourselves.
TOO FEW CHILDREN
THE lessons of the France which Marshal Petain accused of having " too few children" have not been lost. Commenting on the Budget, I he Times remarked: "Perhaps the first necessity is to pot an end to the penalization of those who have children. The children of the nation are the real capital of the country and of the Empire." This week it has returned to the point. Having pointed out that, according to statistics, in little over five years' time at the present rate ours will be a declining population, it continues: "Great Britain cannot assume the position marked out for her at the end of the war as the leader of Europe, cannot even remain for long a Great Power, if she loses the faith to reproduce her stock.
. Nearly everyone agrees that the State must take responsibility for adjusting working-class incomes to the needs of a family, which they do not at present suffice to meet." This is a welcome pronouncement, hut, though the leader quoted goes on to say that " the future reproduction of our population is a moral as well as a social and economic problem," the general impression is that the argument for an increase in the size of families is pragmatic; imperial needs take precedence over Christian principles. It is difficult for Englishmen, robbed for centuries of a social philosophy based on such principles, to regard the problem from any other standpoint than that of expediency. Here therefore is our chance of driving home a much needed lesson. If, irrespective of whether we had a sufficient supply of " gun-fodder," we had followed the dictates of the instructed Christian conscience in this matter, we should not be deploring, when faced with overwhelming responsibilities, the prosNet of a stationary or even declining population. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His justice and all these things shall be added unto you."
JOBS FOR GERMANS
IT really becomes difficult to believe 5one's eyes when one reads in the Leader column of the Daily Express such diabolical stuff as this: "Sir John Anderson unlocks the gates. Aliens in eighteen categories are to be released.
" But we should like to see another class of Germans released. A special
category consisting of trade-union agitators, trained saboteurs. and subversive propagandists, who could advise us on how to make trouble for Hiller in his own country."
Is this sort of dangerous nonsense written with Lord Beaverbrook's connivance'? Anybody with the smellest experience of this class of men knows that their assistance knows no loyalty and that they serve only one cause: that of world-revolution.
Such anti-social creatures should be granted the freedom of our cities in exchange for the secrets of the dirty tricks that are their stock-in-trade: this is the Daily Express's idea of a bargain. If this newspaper has indeed sunk to this level of venality in the pursuit of a war for Christian values, it must be answered on that level. The class of criminal they propose to let loose upon the country will not be interested in making mischief in Germany: he will be immediately interested in making mischief here. That is the first article of the programme of the world-revolutionary who runs to no country, no religion, and no love.
There is something that must be realised in this country in a very short time; or defeat will be our portion. It is this: you cannot use the bolshevikerained mind for any political purpose.Such persons are so deeply versed in deceit that the price of unremitting vigilance their service exacts is too dear by half.
DR. BENES, A LIBERAL?
THE story Dr. Etlyard Benes has to tell in his recently-issued Nazi Barbarism in Czecho-Slovakia is the familiar and revolting tale of Nazism's unscrupulous determination to destroy a national spirit wherever it opposes its aggression. It is neither so gruesome nor so well-documented as similar accounts of the persecution in Poland; but it is horrible enough.
Dr. Benes himself makes a curious distinction between the two aggressions when he says " In Poland this destruction is material, brutal, physical; it consists of assassination, shooting, starving, transportation of large masses of people, etc., etc. In Czecho-Slovakia the law of occupation and protection is slightly different; it is, first of all, a systematic preparation for spiritual assassination and extermination, because the destruction of the spiritual resistance of the Czech masses seems to the Germans to be more essential, and it constitutes the basis for the material destruction:
What is apparent is that Dr. Benes in no sense identifies the national spirit in either Poland or Czecho-Slovakia with
the Catholic religion. And it is very strange to find no mention of this, the religion of the vast majority of his people anywhere in the pamphlet; except for one reference to " thd Catholic priest, Tiso." Mgr. Sramek, new Premier of CzechoSlovakia, in an interview with a CAI Home HERALD reporter last week protested against the common notion that Dr. Benes' Governments are antiCatholic.
Dr. Berms himself, we must remark, does little to correct the impression that his ideal State has no case Tor religion as a basis on which to build a commonwealth. Mgr. Sramek also says that the Czech clergy were active in the cause of
Czech nationalism and separatism. If this is so, assuredly they will have borne the brunt of the new German persecution. The matter appears to have escaped Dr. Benes' attention.
It is also difficult to forget that the International Congress of the Godless held here, in spite of vigorous protest, in 1938, had " the active support of" both President Benes and President Masaryk.
These politicians have now set up their Government here for transference to Czecho-Slovakia after the war has been won. Our own Government has very properly pledged itself to restore autonomy to the Czech State at the first opportunity.
We do not see, however, that autonomy for Czecho-Slovakia necessarily involves the re-establishment of the Benes regime.
BANK v. CITIZEN
Tl's1 view of the frequent protests that have appeared in this paper about the hounding by the banks of pre-war debtorg whose incomes had been destroyed by the war, the following passage from the financial columns of a Sunday paper is of interest: " My recent criticism of the Treasury in expecting wholesale savings from the people, when their resources had been immobilised by the heavy decline in Stock Exchange values and by having to incur losses consequent upon evacuation, brought me numerous letters from readers so affected. One man, who holds a number of good dividend payers on which he had a small pre-war bank overdraft, has been forced to sell his Savings Certificates to meet his bank manager's request for immediate repayment. This man has been a regular contributor toour national savings effort. Now, with his house closed and no means of meeting his bank's demand, he is being discouraged from helping finance the war. Unfortunately this case is typical of thousands of others. The attitude of the banks in calling in many small loans is in direct conflict with the Government's advice to save."
Actually it may he doubted whether the bank's action diminished the volume of saving, but the bank did in this case make use of the emergency to impoverish an individual citizen and enrich itself.