Itq The Editor
THE detente in the international situation caused by the Russian declaration that the Soviet troops arc at last to leave Persia has been universally welcomed. Unlortunatety, it is not easily reconciled with Russia's attitude in the Security Council. Those who appreciate how greatly Russia threatens the peace and who really understand the enormity of her behaviour in the countries she holds in vussaldom end it hard perhaps to envisage any tinal solution Rave by what. Mr. Byrnes has called " the ordeal by battle." And they may argue, privately if not publicly, that, if the battle Is to be, then better for it to be now than later when Russia may be stronger and the rest of the world certainly weaker. This way of thinkIns, however, leaves out of account the nature and consequences of modern warfare on the big scale despite the fact that the world has had evidence enough of the truth that modern war solves nothing. In fact the Russian. evacuation is a sign that considerations other than the direct threat of force even now weigh with the Soviet. World-wide moral condemnation with its concrete consequences in the way of virtual sanctions, isolation and denial of all those good international relations upon which any country must depend for prosperity will remain important factors until the last stages when a country finally decides to stake all on the Wet of brute force, There is certainly no evidence that Russia to-day is in any such mood, but much to suggest that she is very undecided about her future policy. The danger is that if we go On making our present mistake of drifting and then suddenly digging in our heels, Russia may be pushed to extremes.
Our Responsibility WE suggest that the trulyeweak spot in the international situation is to be found outside Russia. not inside it. It k to be found in the failure of the other great Powers to realise where they stand and for what they stand—above all, their failure to realise that if they can shape a constructive policy and hold by it, they will be taking the longest step towards helping Russia to know where she stands and how she has to act.
U.N.O., though its importance is tremendous and though it may in the end emerge the victor in the present difference, is not enough. O.N.O. can act as a full-buck and save a seemingly desperate situation, but it cannot play the game. This will always depend on the players themselves, their fitness, their relations, their purposes. A positive policy. springing from the realisation of what is culturally. socially and economically essential to them. is vital to Britain, America and France, and, through them, to all other countries. Until this ehas been hammered out and put into operation, we shall inevitably have crisis atter crisis with Russia, The mom* we can make a common stand, letting the world know exactly what we value, we shall find that Russia, after an initial face-saving bluster. will aslant herself to the realities of international life. Then will come the time for the real effort between all the great Powers to shape the better world we hope for. But there can be no chance 01 this on the basis of the present scuffling-away from every problem with prayers that U.N.O. may save the world.
The Case of the Polish Army NO better example of the futility and cowardice of our present methods can be offered than the way we have dealt with the Polish Army. Instead of standing by our original position, which was sound enough, namely, abiding in regard to the future of Poland by the decision of an election as free as can he expected, wo have, under Soviet pressure, decided to disband the Polish Army while everything in Poland is most uncertain. Though that army has a vitally impoi taut job still to do in Italy and though, even after 'the concluding of peace with Italy, that army would be invaluable in helping to occupy Germany. we have asked our Polish comrades-in-war to accept an unsigned guarantee by a Provisional Government, whose own authority is purely de facto. as an inducement to return home. Can we be surprised that within a few days that Government begins to hedge about the guarantee? It is worth setting out some of the results of this piece of political inanity. (I) The uncertainties of the guarantee will probably actually diminish the number of Polish soldiers prepared to return home, so that our ostensible elm is defeated. (2) We lose the services of an invaluable army of quasiprofessional soldiers who after their experiences have little to hope for outside the military profession, (3) Despite our fine words, we deny thanks or even a decent deal to the men who fought for us in the darkest days and to whom we virtually made grand promises. (4) We denude Italy of necessary troops both to maintain internal order until the treaty and to hold in cheek the openly anti-British and aggressive Tito Communist regime. (5) We add another vital point to the evidence that we dare not stand up in matters of detail to Russia. thus positively tempting her to continue to extract what profit she can get from political ndventurism. (6) We make the holding of any free elections in Poland less likely, and therefore undermine what solid basis our whole Yalta-founded foreign policy can be said to have.
Communist Infiltration nESPITE the fact that Mr. Bevin is faced by the-opposition of a section of the Labour M.P.s (there are said to be about 40 prepared to vote against him) it still remains true that he is powerful enough to shape a constructive and sane foreign policy. Obviously this is equally true of Mr. Byrnes in America. Therefore there is no real difficulty about standing up to Russia in the field of foreign affairs It is unfortunately otherwise where it is a question of Russian infiltrations within the domestic politics of the different countries. France, for example, is appallingly weakened by the strength of the Communists. both politically and in the field of labour, and by the abject tear of these people shown even by Catholics like Bidault. (One is happy to testify to the courage of M. Blum, a French statesman whose whole out
look seems to have decisively changed during the sufferings of the war),
In this country we have the recurring problem of the demand of the Communist Party for affiliation to the Labour Party, a demand this time backed by nearly 170 trade union leaders. We arc not advocates of any attempt to suppress Communists, for any such notion too closely imitates Communism's own demand for the sups prresinn of those it dislikes; but it is surely time for gleams plain-speaking about the real meaning of Communism to-day. Very relevant indeed are the disclosures being made in the spy trial in Canada. According to the evidence, Gouzenko. the former cypher clerk in the Russian Embassy at Ottawa, alleged that the Soviet had appointed members of the N.K.V.D. in Canada to act as u secret police. Their activities, he said, " served as a screen in preparation for future events which could be wounds for war." (Compare the evidence being given in Nuremberg about the Ausland Institute). Gouzenko further declared that the Russians " created this agency or network using one particular. base, and that base was the Communist Party in Canada," Food for thought indeed here!
Morals and the Health Service
PROM the Catholic point of view important moral considerations overshadow everything else In the Gov
ernment's Health Service Plans. A Catholic doctor must insist on freedom to practise his calling in accordance with his conception of the end of man as revealed by God and taught by the Church. A patient must be equally free to insist that he shall always be so treated by his doctor. Yet there is no doubt that there can be sharp divergencies between the medical practice of the time and Christian moral teaching, So far the Catholic doctor and patient have enjoyed the protection afforded by free competition. The patient is free to choose ilk doctor and the doctor his patients. Under the new plan the doctor will be the servant of the State and the patient's choice of doctor in practice considerably restricted. Yet we find no sort of guarantee that conscientious objections to the State's standard of medical practice will be respected. This is a matter vital to Catholics and, in its measure, vital to very many others. It must be attended to before any laws are enacted, nor can the mere promise of a Minister of Health suttee. Medical students and doctors in the direct service of the State may also find themselves in difficulties unless their freedom of conscience is protected by statute.
Another matter of special concern to its is the status of our Catholic hospitals. To the Christian sickness is much
more than a bodily inconvenience. It is a trial and a blessing sent by God, just as it often may be the threshold of death, the supreme human act on earth. Hence its intimate connection with the spiritual life, a connection which often makes its invaluable contribution to the curing of the bodily ailment. A Catholic hospital provides, where the case is. beyond the care of the good Christian home, the ideal supernatural-natural setting for the sick man or woman. We see no reason why Catholic hospitals should not be preserved even under the Bevan scheme, In fact a problem analogous to that of the Catholic school is raised. The fate of Catholic hospitals, however, is less vital than that of freedom of conscience for doctors and patients.
IN other respects we rind it good deal
of exaggeration in some of the attacks on the Scheme. In practice the greater part or the populafion has never enjoyed the benefits of private consultation. family doctor. bedside manner and so on which arc being paraded. And a great deal of this has been a lot of nonsense serving to disguise the overwork and incompetence of many doctors. The Daily Express is inviting answers from ex-Servicemen to a questionnaire carefully loaded to elicit the answers it wants. Thus it asks: " Do you think differences in rank affected the treatment that patients received?" clearly expecting the answer, " Yes." The moral would be obvious. The true and honest answer is in the vast majority of cases, " No." The question, " Did your health suffer through losing your status of private patient?" should elicit the answer, " No " front those who were not affected by the hazards and discom
forts of service life. The fact, of course, is that we should all profit from a well-organised and thoroughly up-todate medical service unless we happened to he able to ufford, or were lucky enough to come by, the services Qf the few eminent men who have made British medicine at its best the finest in the world. '
Church Parades WE arc in sympathy with the M.P.s who are struggling tee have corn rat Isory d'art:It parades abolished. Catholics only recognise one compulsion to worship and pray, God's compulsion and the compulsion of those whom Catholics know to be acting in God's name. It is not Caesar's job. still less the job of Caesar's generals and colonels. And where church parade falls on men who in their hearts have no religion or no religion corresponding to the one in whose interest they are paraded, retie gion is turned into a farce for the greater glory of Caesar and his armies.