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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 3. March 16th, 1950

Bert Williams Expelled From France

Bert Williams Expelled From France

At the end of 1945, a World Youth Congress was convened in London by the leaders of the Allied powers. It aimed to carry on into the peace the co-operation that won the war. Twenty-five Australian youth bodies sent Bert Williams of the Eureka Youth League, and he played a big part in the organisation of the Congress. From it emerged the World Federation of Democratic Youth, and he became its first General Secretary.

In this capacity he has been resident in Paris since 1946. In that year he made a tour of Australia and New Zealand. He spoke in the V.U.C. Gym, and clinched our decision to affiliate to the Federation. Some of our permanent undergraduates will remember him well.

Bert represented WFDY at the Economic and Social Council if UNO in February-March 1949. At WFDY Congress in Gudapest last year he was elected Vice-President. His work for the Federation in its campaigns for the welfare of the young generation, has been outstanding. Especially in France, his popularity and prestige among young workers and students have been immense.

Too immense. On the afternoon of Saturday 18th February, a detachment of gendarmes knocked on the door of his lodgings in Saint-Germain, and handed him an order from the French Government to leave France within 48 hours. No reason was given.

But the young people of France know the reason. The French Government is frightened by WFDY and its leadership of the young French against the Government's own bankrupt and cheese-paring policy. The Union of Republican Youth, the Protestant Youth Council, the French National Union of Students, the General Confederation of Labour, the National Peace Committee, have joined in protest. And protests are pouring in from abroad.

Let it never be said that Victoria was silent.