I T was inevitable that the Germans, as soon as they had satisfied themselves that Britain could not he knocked out by a few powerful blows, should elaborate their plans for a big offensive against Africa and the Middle East. U nfortunateiy for them the sturdier the resistance in these islands, the less hope can they have of the co-operation which they require. Reviews of our shipping strength such as that given by Mr. Cross, of our food situation by Mr. Boothby and above all of our financial position as analysed by an economist with a great reputation at stake like Mr. Keynes, are calculated to have their weight among the Spaniards, the Turks, the dissatisfied Egyptians, the Arabs, the French, the Russians and the lesser Balkans. Merely to enumerate these names reminds us of the many people who have yet to be fully convinced that Germany is bound to win and therefore who still calculate whether it will pay them in the long run to go full out for the overthrow of the Empire. It should not be forgotten that Britain's reputation for a fair deal even to her enemies or the friends of her enemies stands infinitely higher than that of Germany, and all these people know in their hearts that they will not fare too badly, should Britain win. On the other hand they have no reason to trust Germany's future intentions to themselves even if they help her to victory. That is why it is so important that we should give far more precise indications than we have done about our plans when victory is achieved.
WILL SPAIN COME IN?
MANY of our countrymen have been taking it for granted that Spain can be induced to join in with Germany, and Sufler's visit to Berlin has seemed to them like the prelude to an inevitable climax. There is no doubt that there is a strong element in Spain (recruited to no small extent from former Reds, for the noisier type in the Phalange is much the same as the noisier type of former Communists and Anarchists) which wants war. There is also no doubt that the vast majority of Spaniards entertain the hope of recovering Gibraltar and extending the frontiers of Spanish Morocco. (Gibraltar, by the way, was offered to the Spanish Reds in exchange for Ceuta this very week in the columns of the New Statesman, though no indication was given as to bow this original exchange was to be managed.) On the other hand we ourselves are willing to stake our reputation on the Christianity of General Franco himself and of any Spanish government and movement of which he remains the effec
tive head. This does not mean that Franco will think along the lines of British statesmen, but it does mean that he will not go to war unless he is convinced of the goodness and justice of his cause. He will have to he satisfied not
es only that Spanish ambitions are just (e.g. that Spain has a morel right to Gibraltar and Morocco and that this right cannot he enjoyed without recourse to war), but also that war will be in the best interests of his people and other people in Europe, that Germany is nothing like as bad as she is painted and that the danger of Bolshevism or a renewed outbreak of Continental atheism would be decreased rather than increased by such Spanish action: The question is: Could Franco honestly come to such conclusions? The last point may , seriously tempt him, and we could do far more than we are doing to assure him that our victory will not deliver Europe (and Spain in particular) once more into the hands of the declared enemies of Christianity.
IN THE BALKANS
WHILE Italian claims on Greece are
not yet enforced by action. Bulgaria has been allowed to voice her determination to regain an outlet on the Aegean Sea. This question which was considered as settled by the exchange of populations between Bulgaria and Greece which took place in 1926 and left Thrace a predominantly Greek country is now raised, if not so much for the convenience of Bulgaria as for the safety of the Soviet in the impending events in the Southern Balkans and Turkey.
Since Bulgaria has been assigned to the Soviet sphere of interests, her advance to the Aegean, presumably by taking possession of her former port at TedeAgatch, will interpose her between the Turkish Straits and Salonika, now coveted by Mussolini. This move which will be carried out with the consent of the Axis Powers has for its object to calm Soviet apprehensions with regard to the intended expansion of Italy in the region of the Straits. It would also be the pre
lude to the partition of Turkey and to a Soviet demand for the control of the Straits together with a rectification of the Caucasian border so as to carry that Frontier to a safe distance from the vulnerable centre of Batum and south towards the kaki oilfields. Turkey may then be left to the disposal of the Axis partners unless she decides to oppose the Soviet by force of arms.
MONEY; MORALS; SHELTERS
E XCEPT for the " turning on " of the
2+ per cent. National War Bonds on tap, there has been little news on the financial front since the July Budget, and this gives an impression of inactivity. There is, however, no ground for fearing stagnation,. or too much preoccupation with air raids. Prices on the Stock Exchange have kept firm, which is ..a tremendously important factor in considering the ultimate effect of air raids. What is far more important. retail prices have also kept steady and there are no signs of growing inflation.
Mr. Keynes's broadcast on the progress of war finance was definitely reassuring. Despite the fury of Goering's bombing no appreciable dent has been made in our resources. Mr. Keynes pointed out that the present rate of destruction is not greater than what could be replaced by our normal building capacity in the same space of time and that, precisely as London's greatest glories rose out of the Great Fire, so the destructive onslaught orour enemies may ultimately bring into being a better and brighter London. Mr. Keynes might also well have pointed out that our strict adherence to the rules of war is not without clear economic advantage. Many buildings now being destroyed from the air are of little or no value in helping the war effort and need not be replaced till the cessation of hostilities. Meanwhile Hitler has gratuitously performed the work of the house-breaker and obligingly provided us with materials for air raid shelters and with sorely needed scrap metal.
Talking of air raid shelters we would like to remind our readers that long before the outbreak of war the Cktii0LIC HERALD insisted again and again on the need for deep shelters and cited their nonprovision as one of the gravest failures of the existing economic system. Nothing that has happened has caused us to change our view. The money and the capacity were available. They were diverted to secondary and unnecessary ends or were left unused. An unplanned and haphazard A.R.P. policy caused far more dislocation and nerves than a system of deep shelters would have done.
SIRENS AND WORK
MANY listeners will have been sur prised at the necessity for Lord Beaverbrook's call, for it was more than an appeal, to those engaged in aircraft production to continue work after the sirens, until some direct indication of danger. For most people, especially those engaged in private enterprise and , the small traders, have long ago adjusted their habits to their experience in this matter. One deplorable exception was the Post Office which has now been put right. Another was the banks, which is being put right. It is extraordinary that these two institutions, both serving as vital arteries in the economic life of the country should have been allowed to lag for so long behind the practice of the ordinary private trader. This view which has now received official support is very far from advocating that the sirens be ignored. On the contrary it is necessary to protect the sirens from being brought into such disrepute among normal workers keen on their job, that they would ultimately lose their value. The correct view is that safety and efficiency cannot be achieved by rule of thumb, but must be the result of experience and commonsense. Where maximum safety can be achieved without damage to national interests (as in the case of children playing in the streets) then safety should obviously come first, and the " alert " should be given full effect. Curiosity and sight-seeing should as a national duty give way to maximum safety. But where there are any real interests at stake, and the maintenance of private trade is of real national interest, then caution must continually be tem pered by experience. It is precisely in ibis kind of improvisation that the English people excel, and the national courage should be given free rein. The small anomalies which still exist are therefore the more irritating, because they suggest a red tape from above which is hampering the nation and discouraging the individual.
THEOLOGY FROM THE NEW STATESMAN TH E Society of Jesus would have felt that something was missing during these days of celebration had they gone by without sonic evidence of the hostility shown towards them even by the educated. Appropriately therefore the New Statesman comes out with an attack that is typically far-fetched, ignorant and idiotic. "Critic " reports with relish a conversation in which the downfall of France is ascribed, via the Spanish war, to the Jesuits. And to complete matters the ancient controversy between Jesuits and Dominicans is given a new turn. It appears that " owing to the spurious teaching of the Jesuits " Weygand opted for the Latin bloc (rather than the British connection) through his failure to understand the true doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. The Dominicans on the other hand understand this doctrine, as was made clear during the Spanish war, for " they accepted Republican persecution as a cross to be borne." The Jesuits, one is left to infer, welcomed the persecution because it gave them a chance of being restored with their friend Franco in Spain and because they " try to limit Christian Civilization to the Mediterranean." We are also told that " the Bishop of Tarragona, the only bishop to refuse to sign the memorial supporting Franco, is still a prisoner in a monastery in Italy." Presumably either the Jesuits or Franco are the gaolers of Cardinal Vidal y Barraquer, Archbishop of Tarragona. Let us hope that the New Statesman reaches Heaven where the Jesuit and Domitican martyrs of Spain may chortle together over the nonsense that passes for sense in our erudite British weekly.
Spain's Reds for Mexico
The cost of transporting Spanish Red refugees from France to Mexico is not being borne by the Mexico Government. Reports to this effect in foreign news agencies are declared to be inaccurate and the miniher of refugees that will come to Mexico exaggerated, writes N.C.W.C.
Although all Spanish refugees now in France are said to want to go to Mexico, the maximum number will be 10,000 and it is intended to distribute these among LatinAmerican countries proportionately. Gen. Franco's Government has refused to have these Red refugees back in Spain.