• By Mieltael de in liedogere
is Germany Potentially Dangerous ?
REACTING against the wave of
sympathy for the distressed people ot Germany which has swept over the Anglo-Saxon people, both Russia and France are urging again the necessity of preventing a German renaissance which in course of t.me could once more plunge the world into war. The excitement over the Anglo-Soviet Treaty is to be exptained by the Soviet fear of a German recovery, and this doubtless accounts to some extent for the latest Soviet attack on the British and American 'zone administrations as a prelude to the Moscow conversations about the German treaty. The unexpected initiative in preparing for an AngloFrench treaty. without the French apparently being conceded anything of importance in their demands on Germany, may equally be explained by the sense that France cannot afford to remain isolated indefini'ely, nor can it put all its trust in the mysteries of the Soviet. whose in'ernal weakness, partly owing to the threat of famine. now seems much greater than had been realiecd. By a coincidence. British readzrs of the Sanday papers were treated to a document issued by the International Committee for the Study of European Questions, which reveals all manner of sinister German designs and practices. Now it would be childith to take the line that these Continental fears of Germany are without foundation. Europe is in a desperately weak statc, and if Soviet Russia should prove to be a Colossus with feet of clay. as may well prove in time to be the case, Germany,. despite her defeat and sufferings. can become once again the strongest power in the Continent. Potentially she is always that because of her numbers, her tradition and her industry. Moreover. should there be a general social reaction against Marxism (and this again is by no means an impossibility) Germany will be in the strongest position to exeloit it. Meanwhile, we are all very busy giving the Germans every excuse and motive for staging a revenge—and doing this with far more gusto than after the 1914-1918 war. The real question. therefore, is. not whether or no Germany can or will recover. but how best to prevent the development of a situation within which Germany must recover her preconderance, whatever we may attempt to do to prevent it? In other words, how to avoid a repetition of the essential pattern of the last inter-war period? French o7
T Statute for Germany
SO far, the most notable con
tribution to the problem which has been made comes, not from Russia. but from France. Russia has done nothing but exploit her immediate post-war advantage to pursue her ideological Marxist aggression wherever she can and to hang on to whatever she has acquired. This crude policy depends wholly on the prolongation of the immediate post-war situation. both as regards the balance ot actual strength and as regards the state of people's minds. Neithei condition looks like being fulfilled. Conscious of this. at last, Soviet Rus ia seemi to be finding refuge in the old encirclement-of-Germany policy which b. no policy at all against a numerous, vigorous and centrally situated people.
France, on the other hand. has offered a most interesting and important proposal in the shape of a fairly detailed statute for the present and future ordering of Germany.
Essentially, this statute envaage, federation of German States, neillter too small for real autonomy nor too large for danger, bound together for the purpose of foreign affairs. econom'cs and finance, toad, trans, on and agriculture, by a central government or Band. All kinds of antidemocratic precautions are to be taken to avoid the possibility that any will of the German people to unite and recover should become effective! Thus, the members of ths central parliament will be nominated
This the governmentof the States, not
This suggestion seems, in principle, an admirable one. 10 many ways it is a return to the framework of government which obtained in Europe generally before the work of the centralisation of the nation
States became completed. It is wholly " reactionary " in the sense used by the moderns, and as such a splendid lead to the world.
But by itself it is quite meaningless. Is there any possible chance of preventing in course of time the evil evolution towards a centralised German nation-State, so long as all the conditions for forcing that evo
lution remain in Europe? Force alone can prevent it. and it is utterly vain to suppose that European conditions will remain through the next fifty years sufficiently stable to guarantee that force will remain directed from all sides oeainst Germany. No more to-day than yesterday. Indeed, fur less likely to-day than yesterday, since we enjoy far less stability.
The Only Political Solution
WHAT, then, is the condition for making this proposed French statute for Germany a sound proposition. obviously that the political principles underlying it should be extended to other countries as well as Germany. By this means, the pressures which make for the evolution of nation-States would be minimised, and consequently the main basis of the German attempt to recover for the purpose of asserting dominance and obtaining revenge woued be removed. But even more important is the purely economic and technical consideration that the recovery of European prosperity is dependent on a centralised system and organisation. The plan for a German economic unity of politically, socially and culturally autonomous German States is simply an inadequate framework of the sole European goal worth working for. namely. a European economic unity of decentral
ised European States bound to the centre along the political lines proposed by France for Germany.
No doubt it is visionary to suppose that this goal can be attained internationally in a short time, though there is room for the practical study of decentralisation within nations, as in the case of Alsace and Brittany in France. or Scotland and Wales in Britain. But it is not visionary to expect that European statesmen should begin to grow out of the unfruitful state of mind which imagines that one ordee of things can be indefinitely imposed on Germany while the rest of Europe stands by an opposite and wholly out-of-date one, and, instead. begin openly to aspire towards a European order in which the different peoptes can resume and enjoy their autonomy in perEonal and local affairs while their all-important economic relations with the rest of Europe are centrally and rationally directed to the best advantage of all. That is the only political answer to the German menace, as it is the only answer to any other nationalistic Menace.
Liquidating Empires is Hard Work
LIQUIDATING empires, accord
ing to the liberai prescription, is proving to be a more complex business than the idealists had supposed. General Smuts has startled the world by defying U.N.O. and refusing to carry out its recommendations as regards South-West Africa and the Indians in the Union. The Egyptian conversations have broken down over the future of the Sudan, where Britain safeguards as against emancipated Egypt the rights of the Sudanese. Palestine bristles with insoluble problems eh'ch none the less have to be solved by us. India bristles with insoluble problems which Britain may yet be forced to leave to the Indians to settle among themselves. The Burmese have been wined and dined in London for the second time, and, let us hope, with better results than in
the war. But perhaps the most interesting case is to be found in the French relations with Indo-China. There the French, invoking explanations that seem somewhat out-ofdate in this country, are engaged in a war with their own colonials to the scandal of the Americans, who always take very a priori views about colonies and colonials, since they have never had to face the problem themselves. The French point to the atrocities and bad faith of the Communist Viet-Minh Party, to their duty to protect the friendly Annamese (which include the Catholic missions) and they still refer to the honour of the French flag.
The moral is, of course, that liberal and socialist generalisations about freedom and racial equality state an ideal, no doubt, but they bear very little rela'ion to the realities of each particular problem. The world. in other words, is painfully realising that our forebears were not as had as they arc painted, and that our own apparently superior aims will have to be realised through a long and painful technique, not so very different from what we have so glibly condemned. Above all, it is clear that you cannot break down what exists without agreem-nt on the tyne of over-riding order that is to follow.
Lateran Treaty Safeguarded
CATHOLICS throughout the world will feel a special satisfaction at the hopeful outcome of the Italian Constitutional Committee's work on the Lateran Treaty. The only proposed change is a claire, suggested by the Communist, Terracini, safeguarding to other denominations the S ac recognition of their regulations in so far as they do not contain dispoii :ons contrary to the guarantees of the Lateran Treaty itself. Such an amendment will be widely approved, and certainly it contains, we imagine, nothing contrary to the mind of the Church.
The independence of the Church's government and the security of the Holy Father are more precious to the world as a whole to-day than perhaps they Lave ever been. They are particularly precious to Italy. which has now become a border State between two ideological worlds. The Italians have well realised their great and special responsibility in the matter.
The Spanish Amnesty— New Rules
SOME weeks ago we suggested in
connection with the Spanish Amnesty offer. that it would be a good thing if the exiles, before returning to Spain, were in a position to have their cases investigated through embassies and consulates and so receive safe-conducts before returning to their country. This week we hear from our Spanish correspondent that the Spanish Minister of Justice has decided to draw up rules which in fact cover this matter. Under these rules the Ambassadors and Consuls will be able to take details of the names and records of would-be repatriates. This information will be forwarded to the Supreme Council of Justice which will decide whether the case comes within the limits of the amnesties granted in October, 1945. and December, 1946. The result will be communicated to the repatriates, and if it is satisfactory they will he' assisted in every way possible, e.g., with housing facilities and help to take up again their cancers.
This is a case. not only of an amnesty offer, but of positive charity towards those in a position to benefit from it. It is initeresting to note that whereas few people would doubt the value of such promises from the Spanish Government, appeals for the return of exaes to countries dominated by Russia are highly suspect. This is because Spain is a country which, however authoritarian, recognises the primacy of Law, whereas Force alone is recognised in the East. This contrast makes any facile comparison between Spain and the Russian-dominated tyrannies very short-sighted.