On Thursday last Pope Pius XII broadcast from Vatican City an address on the present world shortage of food.
A few days before his broadcast the Pope had received in private audience, and had conferred with Mr. Herbert Hoover, who is in Europe on a fact-finding mission for President Truman. At the time the Pope was speaking, the World Conference on the Shortage of Cereals in Europe was meeting, and on that day the debate on the World Food Shortage was opened in the British Parliament.
While the Pope made a direct appeal to the countries of Latin-America, naming Argentine and Brazil, he also specially called upon those countries who had shown their organising ability in the achievement of victory to play their full part by economy, sacrifice and careful planning to solving the threatened world calamity.
"Even a slight, hardly perceptible ra tioning in the better supplied countries would make it possible to save foodstuffs which would considerably help the more urgent needs of those sorely tried by famine," said the Pope.
We give the text of the Pope's appeal below. Editorial comment appe ars on page 4.
The Pope said;
With deep anguish in our heart, we appeal to the conscience of the world, to the sense of responsibility of leaders in politics and public economy, to the humane understanding and reciprocal generosity of the peoples, to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, to those who are capable of rising above differences of opinion, and Of silencing the resentments born of the war, and who have kept their hearts and minds open to the hallowed voice of human brotherhood, and more particularly to all those who, united with us in the Christian faith, strong in Christ's doctrine and law, show, in response to appeals to their brotherly spirit, the touchstone of deep and sincere love for God.
Hardly emerged from the river of blood of these war years, mankind looks for peace along an ever harsher, more rugged path; at every step there are new obstacles and obstructions, the gravity of which was suspected by few in the first flush of the victory so hardly gained. While statesmen try to lay the first foundations of political and economic reconstruction and to eliminate, or at least mitigate the inevitable divergencies of opinion and interest, the threatening spectre of hunger rises be hind them. The sinister shadow of hunger threatens at least one-fourth of the world ; it threatens to mow down whole multitudes, whose numbers--if timely remedies are not found—would be far greater than casualties on all fronts during the last war.
Various unforeseen and unforeseeable circumstances have rendered the already formidable diffiCulties of food supplies graver still ; in Eastern Europe, insufficient tilling following military operations, and the subsequent compulsory evacuation of a large part of the local populations ; a poor wheat harvest in Southern Europe and neighbouring territories; a scanty harvest, especially of rice, in Eastern and Southeastern Asia ; drought in South Africa. The consequences are obvious—a greater and indispensable need for imports in Europe during the next few months until the next harvest; the imperious need for help for the populations in the other territories we have named which, in normal times, were self-sufficient.
Certainly vast regions produce far more than their own populations need, but considerable reserves were utilised during the conflict as cattle fodder, or were subjected to chemical and indus trial processes. In any case, even with the existing reserves, the gap until the next harvest can only be bridged with the greatest difficulty and if everything possible is done. At the beginning of the harvest, reserves will be extremely low. Therefore, the difficulty will not be eliminated even then, but may last until the following harvest.
We do not doubt that the peoples, who have shown so great organising power. and so heroic a spirit of sacrifice in the achievement of their war aims. will give proof of these same qualities now that it is a 'natter of saving millions of human beings. Existing reserves must he made available and others must be accumulated; waste of food and its use for other purposes than the feeding of human beings must be prevented; rash or unjustifiable interruptions of work must be avoided; the opportune financial measures and every opportunity for sowing must be taken.
SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE
All this needs organising ability and a spirit of sacrifice. Yet, if organisation were nothing but administrative policy, and if the spirit of sacrifice were not inspired by a higher ideal than military or national discipline, they would mean very little. Mankind is threatened by hunger, and hunger is the cause of unfathomable disturbances in which the future peace would run the risk of being suffocated even before it is born. Yet peace is so necessary to all the peoples. In the face of the danger there is no room for thoughts of revenge or reprisal, lust for power or domination, nor for any desire for isolation or the privileges of the victor.
This has been well understood in North America. In this great world offensive against hunger, the U.S.A. has generously placed itself at the head of the movement. It has placed its gigantic production force in the service of this holy cause; it has doubled its efforts to multiply the surplus of food supplies destined for export. We know that Canada is following in the same
path. Britain, while calling an international conference on food supplies in her own capita], has maintained many war-time food restrictions.
Even a slight, hardly perceptible rationing in the better-supplied countries would make it possible to save foodstuffs which would considerably help the more urgent needs of those sorely hied by famine.
We therefore turn our eyes towards the States of Latin-America. Already OVER TO BACK PAGE