By Douglas Hyde
YET another attempt by the Communists to build popular fronts in the democracies which would include Catholics and others, is foreshadowed iii an article which has appeared in the Russian newspaper " Pravda."
Written by Mr. Shevlyagin, — a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, it clearly carries with it the authority of the Russian leaders. Significantly, it coincides with the Soviet Government's great new trade and diplomacy drive which they believe can open the way to new forms of Communist penetration.
Latest development in that campaign is the departure for Britain of Mr. 0. V. Klentsov, a senior official of the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Trade.
It is reported from Moscow that his mission is the first follow-up to Mr. Krushchey's recent statement that his Government considers that trade is the most important factor
in improving Anglo Soviet relations.
It is also emphasised that on that occasion Mr. Krushchey demanded the elimination of " existing discriminations and limitations." There is every indication that Mr. Klentsov's mission has more political than commercial significance in the eyes of the Soviet Government.
This latest approach to Britain is clearly part of the wider pattern for spreading Communist influence by means of trade and diplomacy which has taken similar trade missions to Asia, Africa, Latin America and all over the Free World in recent months.
It is against this background, too, that the " Pravda " article must be seen. Under the title " Unity of Action," Mr. Shevlyagin urges the need for political unity with Labour, Socialist, radical, Catholic and any other groups who can be persauded to cooperate with the Communists for the immediate aim of achieving the type of peace the Communists want.
The article's first emphasis is upon the need for Communists to gain the confidence and cooperation of "Social Democrats" — which in this country means the Labour Party supporters — as a prelude to a popular front The alliance of Communists and Socialists would form the essential basis for a wider unity. Thus the new proposals follow the familiar Communist popular front pattern.
In this country it may well take the form of Soviet leaders wooing the leaders of the Labour Party (whom they presumably see as Britain's next government) whilst the British Communists cultivate the left wing sections of the rank and file, both within the Labour Party itself and its affiliated trade unions.
Mr. Shcvlyagin's specific reference to Catholics can be expected to stimulate Communists here into making new attempts to get the Support of individual Catholics, particularly in industry and trade unions.