VOL. 173 No. 5171

LONDON, JUNE 17th, 1939


IN THIS ISSUE THE NEW SPAIN An Editorial on the Reconstruction o f a Nation


A Tribute to a great Catholic Journalist CATHOLICISM IN CONTRAST

The Faith in France and in Italy, by Robert Speaight

AN ANGELIC DOCTOR The Art of P . G. Wodehouse, by Evelyn Waugh

Full L is t o f Contents on page 772.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK The Price of the Soviet

While Mr. Strang is in Moscow, it is announced that General Haider, the head o f the German artillery, is going to Estonia and Finland at the invitation o f the military commands of those two countries. This is a return visit for the recent visits to Germany o f the Estonian and Finnish Army chiefs. The great desire o f the Baltic States is so to conduct their policy th a t in the event o f war they can maintain their independence by not becoming a battlefield. The Germans, knowing that all small and nearby countries have been alarmed since March, are busy giving assurances o f nonaggression. It is the Russians, to judge by the recent comments in Pravda, who are disposed to brush aside the hesitations of the Baltic States, and to suggest that if their Governments are reluctant to be guaranteed, that is because they are not the sort of Governments the countries in question ought to have.

Mr. Strang has not an easy task, and in the quarters in France and Britain most whole-heartedly devoted to Moscow, he is being attacked as a man who, when he was en poste in Moscow, as at the time o f the trial of the British engineers, showed himself cold towards the Soviet. Mr. Strang has to persuade the Soviet th a t it is not true that they can enforce their own price, that they exaggerate the extent to which M. Daladier is still sufficiently the prisoner o f the Popular F ron t majority, and should not think that Mr. Chamberlain has to yield before a solid and enthusiastic popular demand for the Soviet alliance, whatever the terms. The tru th is that on this issue both Governments are now rather stronger at home, that the weeks which have passed have widened the area in France and Britain in which it is understood how very easy it would be to pay too high a price for Soviet undertakings. The approach to Moscow arose out of the British pledges given to stabilise the dangerously disturbed position of Poland and Rumania. These countries cover the Soviet, and their independence can reasonably be thought a matter of concern to Moscow. If it is made plain that there is no suggestion that Russia should do more than Britain or France are ready to do to help those countries, the reasonableness o f going no further than mutual, but strictly localised, obligations will become increasingly obvious the more the protracted negotiations keep the subject before the public mind.

I t is noticeable that even in France the projected Russian Pact is not regarded with all the favour that it received at first. In the French radical newspaper L'Œ uvre, for instance, an editorial on June 10th (not the work o f Mme. Tabouis), under the title “ Contre l'Agression mais pour l'E urope," praised the speech o f Lord Halifax, and condemned emphatically th a t section o f Left Wing opinion, not unrepresented in the House of Commons, which would press forward relentlessly with a “ White W a r” against Germany. It particularly denounced those who call for an alliance with Moscow “ at all costs.” “ The British Government, like our own, has not only the right, but the duty to ask itself what would be the consequences of a Treaty (with Russia) which might have all the appearance not o f a defensive pact, but of a sharply offensive alliance. ’ ’ French Views of British Speeches

Lord Halifax’s speech of June 8th was received by most of the French Press with tolerance, if not at first with enthusiasm. But papers o f the extremes o f both Right and Left condemned it violently, la Rocque’s Petit Journal no less than the Communist L'Humanité. Léon Boussard in Le Petit Journal was very angry indeed with Lord Halifax, “ ce mystique chasseur de renards," permitting himself a long catalogue of the humiliations “ im posed” upon France by Britain since the War, beginning with the evacuation o f the Ruhr, and culminating in the partition o f Czechoslovakia ; each event being a humiliation which made Germany more powerful and more ready for her great War of Revenge. Lord Halifax’s speech o f June 8th seemed to those of whom Boussard may be taken as representative, as the prelude to “ a second Munich.” "P a s de Munichisme," they say.