VOL. 172 No. 5147






By Graham Greene


By Our Paris Correspondent


By Moray McLaren Full List o f Contents on page 880.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK The Nationalists’ Choice

The Spanish Nationalists have chosen to make their great offensive in Catalonia. There were two other major alternatives. When their enemies attacked on the Ebro it was to relieve a cumulative Nationalist pressure against Sagunto and Valencia, and Sagunto was almost in the firing line. It has an important foundry, and its capture would make a great difference to the armament resources o f the larger part o f Republican Spain, and the part least easily supplied from outside. But the capture o f Sagunto and Valencia, while it might bring about the fall of Madrid, would not be the same mortal blow as the fall of Barcelona. The other alternative, the direct attack on Madrid, has long been ruled out. In effect, Madrid constitutes an enormous fortress, and the defenders inside the arc which the Nationalists have spread round them enjoy the advantage o f interior lines, and can move quickly from one side to the other to reinforce the defence a t any particular point. The Catalonian offensive will not have to succeed to the point o f capturing Barcelona. I f it can repeat half the success o f last Spring’s offensive it will reduce the area at the command o f its enemies to an impossibly small corner of Spain. At the root o f the hardships now being endured with the usual Spanish stoicism, by the unfortunate populations under Republican control, is the fact that Barcelona, like Vienna after the peace treaties, has lost its natural market. The keenest partisans for Catalan autonomy have to recognize the economic interdependence o f Barcelona and Spain. In essence the civil war is the movement o f the provinces against the proletarian organisations o f the great industrial cities. Two o f those cities, Bilbao and Malaga, have been captured, and are once again linked up with the agricultural economy. Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia remain outside. There is no hope that the Republicans could, themselves, ever take the offensive to the point o f conquering Spain. Their defensive power is naturally very much greater, and they may succeed in resisting defeat, but as long as they do so they will have to be fed from abroad, while, as far as supply goes, Nationalist Spain could live indefinitely within its present frontiers. I t is not surprising if all the hopes of the Republicans rest on war weariness or internal dissensions in the Nationalist camp, but what has so far been the outstanding characteristic o f the movement, in a country where political co-operation is an art not easily learned, is the unity which binds together exceedingly different districts and provinces.

Wednesday’s News Chronicle heads its account of the previous d ay ’s fighting on the Segre front with the words “ Italians H e ld .” I t says that “ I t is not clear how many Italian troops are serving . . . because it is known th a t they have been much diluted by Spanish troops. ’ ’ Its estimate of the number of Italians, however, is 20,000. I t has no figure for the to tal number o f men engaged in the offensive ; for that one has to go to the Daily Telegraph, which gives it as 300,000. I t is possible, o f course, to speak of 20,000 Italians among 280,000 Spaniards as “ Italian troops diluted by Spaniards” ; it all depends which way you look a t it. The Exchange of Press Quotations

It is one of the difficulties o f a rigorous Press control that whatever the censorship permits it is naturally thought to approve. Reminders have from time to time been given by English statesmen to the English Press, notably by Lord Halifax, speaking to provincial journalists, that in a world of highly organized presscutting and card indexing, what they write goes all over the world and may easily build up impressions much stronger than they intended. Journalists work under haste, and if they are fond of writing they warm to their work, and at times their pens run away with them. This must also be remembered about the journalists o f Italy and Germany, whose only outlet, since they may not oppose those conducting their country’s