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Salient. The Newspaper of Victoria University College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 19, No. 3. March 24, 1955

Opinions Politic...By Polemic — P.M.'S Conference

page 5

Opinions Politic...By Polemic

P.M.'S Conference

A Pitiable effort! All corporate purpose was drained away to leave a few dull platitudes to rattle in the sieve of the official communique. This was as flabby a statement as even the brain of an Eden could devise. It represented the ignoble spectacle of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers nodding their heads in approval at, perhaps even applauding, the results of Britain's disastrous foreign policy. They acclaimed as a victory the humiliating defeat suffered at the hands of the World Bank when Britain was allowed back into Persia only, as the junior partner of her own oil-industry. They were delighted at the scuttle from Suez. Our part in surrendering northern Vietnam to the Chinese Reds met with their enthusiastic approval. In fact, they seemed to have formed themselves into an Eden admiration society, proclaiming themselves, in effect, the yes-men of a yes-man.

Boot is on Another Foot

The explanation of governmental changes in the Soviet Union most congenial to the British left was that expressed by the "New Statesman and Nation" in these words:

In response to Western complaints of Stalin's toughness. Mr. Malenkov was obligingly selected to "play it soft," When no response was forthcoming, both the tune and the piper have been abruptly changed.

How exceedingly nice of the dear Russians to bow to Western complaints of tough Soviet politics! How mean-spirited of the West to withhold its response!

What is most interesting in that fatuous passage is to know precisely who was obliging enough to "select" Mr. Malenkov. It could not have been the Supreme Soviet, that stooge body which "carries unanimously" every proposition put before it. Nor was it likely to have been the Council of Ministers, or the Central Committee of the Communist Party, neither of which is addicted to the habit of counting noses. Either there is in Moscow, as in the United States, a Government behind the Government, or else power goes to whoever is able at any given time to marshal a decisive" combination of factors—factors of which nobody except the chief contenders arc perhaps aware. At the time of Stalin's death it is certain that Malenkov held that advantage, but lost it in the subsequent battle of intrigue. The one unlikely explanation is that which commends itself to the British left wing—that Malenkov was put in to "foot it" with the West and replaced when "they" wished to change the game to kicking the West in the pants.

Facades of East and West

Accompanied by the ballyhoo of Press and BBC fanworship. Sir Anthony Eden flew across the world to act as trouble-shooter in the Far East, although patently there was nothing to be accomplished at Bangkok which could not much more quietly be tackled at his Foreign Office desk.

These peripatectic glamour-boys, by flitting here, there and everywhere over the earth's surface, are a positive menace. Their incessant flights and conferences do more than anything else to keep mankind tense and bothered, while they never achieve Success except by surrendering to the Communist Empire what is not theirs to give.

If the British Government thought a diplomatic triumph could thereby be secured, it would act completely out of character if it did not offer Malaya and Hong Kong to the beasts of prey.

At Bangkok, where the busy-bodies gathered, the major fear was that having no sop to throw to the Chinese Cerberus, Eden would—with Cabinet blessing—offer to internationalise Britain's few remaining Far Eastern possessions by permitting Seato bases to be set up in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Goodbye to Sophiatown

The removal of Africans from the Johannesburg slum districts of Sophiatown, so far from leading to riots, has been a triumphant progress. When news arrived from Meadow-lands that the first families to be settled were delighted with its amenities, there was a general desire to be moved there, and convoys set out to the accompaniment of cheers. Much gratitude was expressed to the Government for so greatly improving the conditions of life, and of the nineteen families which absented themselves from the first day's exodus, fourteen later asked to be moved.

In the light of these facts it is clear that the huge agitation worked up by African Congress leaders and sundry white "liberals" was on a bogus issue.

One hopes that the Bishop of Johannesburg. Father Trevor Huddieston and Mr. Patrick Duncan are feeling as foolish as they have been made to look. They have undoubtedly acted as the unwitting dupes of Communist trouble-makers.