Sta,--A word of comment on your leader with this title (May 7) is not out' of place. All that is needed for the Germans to regain the hope which, as you say, they have lost—is simply that they shall be left alone and not hampered in their efforts by such insane policies as dismantling (which still goeson, under Lord Pakenham, although on your front page. same issue, he is quoted as saying that be opposes such a policy!) and the regime of more or less enforced starvation. Enforced is the correct term, for Offers by neighbouring countries. e.g., Denmark, Swedeu and Norway, to alleviate the distress in Germany by sending superfluous foods there, have been sternly rejected by the Food Control Board in Washington. which regulates the food supply for Germany on a fixed basis. Quite recently (see the Manchester Guardian, February 11, and a number of subsequent letters) an offer made, on a commercial basis, by a big Swedish firm to supply enough fats to Germany to keep up a better level of fats for the whole year was turned down by this Board in the U.S.A. At the same time, the allocation of fats by this Board was so miserable that many districts in Germany have been wholly without fats for months on end.
This dreadful and shocking state of thing is not due (as you erroneously state) to a " world-wide shortage of foodstuffs," since the food was there, awaiting a permit of entry, but to the policy pursued by the Washington Board. It has been stated in the British Zone Review (March 20) that if purchases of foods are made by the British control to raise the level of nourishment in Germany, the same quantity of food is then deducted by this Board from the rations. The low rations are thus proved.
Holland has made more than one attempt to send fruits and vegetables (desperately needed) to Ger many, in large amounts (one offer was for 15,000 tons) but these offers were also rejected. The stuff was kept in Holland and ploughed into the ground. The means of payment, offered by Holland on a barter system, were at hand and could have been sent. What Germany needs is simply the thing we promised to bring to her and have not delivered—frees dont ! Given a normal scope for work and trade the Germans could have negotiated deals in foods which would have raised the level of life for the whole nation. At present, German business men are not free to sell their goods or to make normal agreements. German ships are not free to sail. the post is not free, there is no freedom of travel (such as existed under the Hitler regime) and there is no freedom even to make their position known to the outer world (a medical report was recently suppressed, because of the dark lieht it threw on Conditions there). Why not adopt the quite simple policy of keeping our promises to the German people) Perhaps the politicians never thought of that?
M. Boom (Dr) Ennistymon, Eire.
[While there appears to be substance in our correspondent's argument that commercial freedom in Germany would in time alleviate the food situation there, the position is not so simple as it is made to appear here. These offers would not greatly affect the whole position so long as an international emergency food council is allocating basic foods for the whole world. The Swedish offers were in fact at double the world price.—EDITOR,