SLR,—The criticism implied in your Notes and Comments on October • 17, whether justifiable or not, would secm to come ill from a country which has so many military blunders to its discredit in the present war, and which is at present, apparently, so afraid lest another may be added to their number that it is content to do virtually nothing while its Ally fights the common foe—and is thereby, in fact, committing a greater blunder than any before, as will be shown.
Even less seemly, in the circumstances, I feel, is the suggestion that we should hesitate to send to our Ally the utmost material assistance which we can produce and send.
I agree most heartily with you, however, as did Mr. Cary, Conservative M.P. for Eccles, when he spoke in the House of Commons on September 30, that the amount of such aid that could be sent to the Soviet Union within a reasonable period of time is likely to be so insignificant, in relation to the tremendous scale of the operations on which our Ally is engaged, that it will not influence appreciably the course of events on the Eastern Front. It is worth bearing in mind, however, in this connection, that the production and dispatch of such aid will have an important effect on the morale of our people, that the receipt of it will have a no less important effect on the morale of the Soviet peoples, and that such evidence of the reality of Anglo-Soviet co-operation will have a powerful effect—in the opposite sense, of course—on the morale of the Nazis, the Fascists and their " jackals." For that reason, therefore, I would strongly deprecate any reluctance on our part to fulfil the solemn undertaking given in our name direct aid.idoard. Beaverbrook with regard to this As you write later, on the other hand, we must remember that " every tank, every aeroplane, tank and gun defending this country, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean is decisive, and decisive for the ultimate fate of Russia itself." All the more reason, therefore, it would seem, that we should not permit these weapons either to be wasted. And yet, if one considers the situation in the light of common-sense or of sound strategy that is precisely what is happening—and what will go on happening until our Government can be prevailed upon to usc them eovefor offensive operations on " a second front." The history of our country is full of experience to show how, when we have a militarily powerful Ally on the Continent, the most effective use we can make of our Army is as " a shot to be .fired by our Navy at the enemy's weak Spots," to use a phrase coined by Sir Edward Grigg, M.P. Our naval supremacy, and our temporary aerial supremacy, taken in conjunction with the circumstance that the main bulk of the enemy's forces are inextricably involved in the titanic struggle on the Eastern Front, while the remainder are hard put to hold their own against the insurgent populations now actively co-operating with us, should make it comparatively easy for us to undertake AT ONCE a continuous series of raids in force at widely-spaced points along the enemy's vast seaboard.
The advantages presented by the adoption of these, our traditional tactics are: — (1). They divert enemy forces at least ten times as great as those which we may employ, or otherwise they multiply tenfold our effective military strength. (2). They minimise Lhe handicap represented by any deficiencies from which our Army may still suffer in respect of numbers or armament. (3), They entail less effort and far less loss of life and material than would be involved in the conduct of a major continental campaign, 5uch as we waged in the last war and tried to wage in the beginning of this one. (4). They would enable our Soviet ally to move from the defensive to the counter-offensive, for the success of which the ground would be prepared by the guerrilla activities of our other allies already mentioned, in the " occupied " territories.
The urgency that we should hesitate no longer in the adoption of these tactics is due not only to the urgent need of our ally for some relief of the tremendous pressure which she is sustaining virtually alone, but also to the obvious fact that every day's delay reduces the power of the Soviet Union to mount the counter-offensive, and gives the enemy more time in which to crush the movement ot revolt behind his lines. If we wait much longer, this process in our disfavour will go so far that the direct threat to our country and to its forces overseas may develop into a grim reality—with which we ourselves would then be called upon to grapple virtually alone.
No one would deny, of course, that there is an element of risk involved in the adoption of the tactics I have advocated, but as Napoleon said, " War cannot be made with
out taking risks." We would therefore be well advised, it would seem, if we inspire ourselves with the words written by our great national hero, Lord Nelson, in circumstances not unlike those which obtain to-day;', Something must be left to chance. Our only consideration should be, Is the honour and benefit to our country worth the risk? I) so, in God's name, let us get to work I"