`A Lie, says Baltimore Archbishop Izvestia's attack on the Vatican has been soft-pedalled in this country. Very different has been the reaction in the United States, where it was given great press prominence.
In America it is regarded as being closely linked with other features of recent Soviet policy, including the Pravda peace bombshell, the attitude towards Poland and the Baltic States, and the new Soviet Constitution.
All these together seem to have left Americans in a state of the greatest perplexity.
Explanations vary from a Soviet desire to Bolshevise large tracts of Europe (including Italy) to a game of power politics between Russia and Britain. The HalifaxSmuts speeches are seen, in this latter connection, as part of a British effort to unite the Empire with Western Europe as a balance against Russia.
Specific comments on the Izvestia attack include, besides the plainest speaking from Catholic spokesmen, in particular the Archbishop of Baltimore, editorials in national papers in the strongest possible language.
Vatican—our great responsibility Secular writers are headed by Walter Lippman in the New York Herald Tribune, who wrote:
" The publication by Izvestia . . of the article calling the Pope and the Vatican ' pro-Fascist ' is a highly improper action. By the terms of the declaration on Italy adopted at Moscow. Fascists are recognised as enemies of the United Nations. Therefore the name Fascist is no longer a word that can be used loosely by journalists.
" The British, French and American armies are fighting to take Rome. When they enter the city the Vatican will be within our lines. This is a very great responsibility. If we are to discharge it well. there must not be a shadow of Misunderstanding as to the policy of the United Nations of which the British and American Governments are here the trustees.
" The Vatican as a Temporal Power is a neutral State with which the U.S.A. and Britain have friendly relations. We intend to maintain them and to protect scrupulously and cordially all established rights of the Church wherever our military authority extends, and neither to practise ourselves nor countenance from others, while we have responsibility in Italy, any interference in the affairs of the Church. Insofar as the Izvestia article means or implies any intent to cause deviation from this policy, either by the Soviet Government or by inciting popular agitation in Italy, we must reject it firmly, unequivocally and entirely."
THE " NEW YORK TIMES " Unjust and Intemperate The New York Times has an even more forthright comment " Of all the incendiary literary bombs manufactured by Moscow since Teheran, and thrown with such lighthearted recklessness into the unity of the Allied Nations, none is likely to do greater damage than 1 estia's unjust and intemperate attack -upon the Vatican.
" The palpable insincerity of this document may be judged by its denunciation of the Vatican for silence when Italy attacked France. And where. may we ask, was tzrestia's own protest on that occasion 7 Where was the protest of the Soviet Government ? His tory records that at that moment the Soviet was selling war supplies to Hitler. " Izvestia's attack is damaging to the unity on which victory depends. It is all the more disconcerting because it comes at the very moment when the Allied Army stands at the gates of Rome and when the Allied Commission, wherein Russia is a full partner, must soon accept new responsibilities for salvaging what can be saved in Italy."
THE " WASHINGTON POST " "It will breed confusion" The Washington Post editorial states: " Those who sought to soft-pedal
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