MR. ATTLEE "failed to get a precise opinion on the religious situation" in China says the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano, commenting on statements reported to have been made during the Labour Party delegation's Press conference in Hong Kong.
The Osservatore remarks ironically that Mr. Attlee found time, however, to "get an opinion even on the Communist battle against flies."
It ridicules Mr. Attlee's alleged statement that China's opposition to missionaries within its territories is due to a nationalist spirit more than a Communist spirit.
"It is Communism which has caused that kind of nationalism," says Osservatore, which resorts to persecution, trials, gaols, exiling, etc.
"It is Communism which resorts to abolishment of liberty of thought and of speech, which true nationalism has never opposed.
"We find it, to say the least, strange that Mr. Attlee failed to get a precise opinion on the religious situation in Communist China.
"The Communist world would like to pose as the sole custodians of peace, but organises partisans and calls warmongers those who do not dare to trust such words of pacifism."
The former British Prime Minister's views were thoroughly in keeping, the Vatican paper says, with the "unexpected" note of everything that comes from behind the Iron Curtain,
"Unexpected" on the part of the delegation so well entertained and so much flattered was the confirmation given to the world that the Communist regime is not sufficiently tolerant, does not take enough interest in peasants, makes economic changes too incautiously, and sets the stage so that the good is more obvious than the less good.
The fact that some previous delegations did not bring back this "unexpected" news doubtless indicates that they were not as free as Messrs. Attlee and Company and suffered from more reactionary consciences.
Equally "unexpected" were the observations on Formosa, because it is difficult to talk about peace in regard to Formosa, since in practice no one expects a peaceful solution.