TITO CANNOT DISGUISE THESE FACTS
From a Special Correspondent WHILST Catholics were urging that suitable representation should be made to Tito, during his visit to Britain, about his persecution of the Church, two prominent politicians, Lord Strabolgi and Mr. Tom Driberg, M.P., last week-end cast doubts on whether any such persecution exists.
Lord Strabolgi is a former Labour Chief Whip in the House of Lords and Mr. Driberg is a member of the Labour Party Executive Committee.
Lord Strabolgi told a Press conference in Belgrade that Britain has been "seriously misinformed" about religious freedom in Yugoslavia.
Making his first visit to Yugoslavia, Lord Strabolgi, like Mr. Eden before hint, had long conferences with Marshal Tito. He also talked to the Foreign Minister, Edward Kardelj, and deputy Foreign Minister, Ales Bebler.
He said that he had concluded that: "Although certain things are naturally regrettable from the British point of view, nevertheless, the alleged persecution of the churches has been greatly exaggerated in Britain.
"I am satisfied that the people here are free to practise their religion and that the churches have complete freedom to teach their people inside their own churches as long as they do not interfere in politic‘" Lord Strabolgi appeared to overlook the fact that this was precisely the line that Hitler took in Germany when he persecuted the Church begause it was alleged that churchmen "interfered in politics," and that politicians of the Left are the first to condemn those Catholics who do not apply their religion to the political sphere.
Writing in Reynolds News, Mr. Dribcrg suggested that Mr. Eden and the British Embassy in Belgrade shared the views of Tito in regard to Archbishop Stepinac.
Outrivht denial ?
An outright denial that there is any religious persecution in Yugoslavia is likely. it seems, to come from politicians and pressmen of all parties between now and next March when Tito comes to London on the invitation of the Government.
It is therefore worth recalling some of the evidences of the persecution which have come since the regime was established and which still continue.
Tito has throughout claimed that he has not departed from the orthodox Marxist-Leninist line, and his attitude to religion certainly supports this eta im.
And although his political tactics now differ from those of Stalin, those he uses against religion continue to he indistinguishable from the tactics used everywhere behind the Iron Curtain.
Apart from the virtual house arrest of Mgr. Stepinac, following years in jail. the Bishop of Mostar, Mgr. Peter Cule. is in prison serving an I I-year sentence passed on him in 1948.
An Orthodox Archbishop and 25 of his priests were shot by Tito's Continued on page 5