Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Getting ready for the Pope

By EMERY BARCS 1970-6-12

A LOT of work on two levels ecclesiastic and secular -- will go into preparing the two-day visit of Pope Paul VI to Sydney next November. For the Pope is not only the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church with some 300 million members but he is also head of the Vatican State which despite its tiny area (.16 square miles) has all the right and privileges of any other sovereign country. Most of the preparations will be negotiated by the Vatican's representative in Australia, Archbishop Gino Paro, the Apostolic Delegate, who resides in a relatively modest building in Edward Street, North Sydney.

The Vatican has two kinds of representatives abroad. With countries that have treaty relations with the Holy See, the Vatican exchanges ambassadors. The Vatican's ambassador has the title of nuncio and his diplomatic standing and privileges are fully recognised.

TO OTHER COUNTRIES the Vatican may send Apostolic delegates. Although officially they are only liaison officers between the Vatican on one side and the local Catholic Church and State authorities on the other, they are granted diplomatic privileges by courtesy. Whenever a new Apostolic Delegate arrives in Australia he invariably calls on the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and mostly on the Minister for External Affairs.

Subsequently, he deals directly with the Australian Government and not through the Roman Catholic Church in Australia. This means that Archbishop Paro will have to spend a lot of time in Canberra between now and next November. Because of his eight trips abroad since his election to St. Peter's throne on June 21, 1963, Pope Paul has been called "the Pilgrim Pope". He went to Jerusalem in 1964,
to India the same year, to the United Nations in New York in 1965, to Fatima in Portugal in 1967, also in 1967, to to Turkey  Bogota (Colombia) in 1968, to Geneva in June, 1969. and to Uganda the following July. Their combined experience now also serves as a model for the or-ganisation of Papal trips, allowing, of course, for variations owing to local conditions.

For the Pope's trips abroad the Vatican charters one of the big jets, whenever possible, from one of the national airlines of his country of destination. So he may come to Australia by a special Qantas flight if it is available. Naturally, the Pope travels with a fairly large retinue. Usually a number of cardinals accompany him. Nine "princes of the church" went with him for the short - one day - trip to Geneva, two to Uganda and three to Bogota.

On his last two trips the Vatican's Secretary of State (equivalent of a Foreign Minister), Cardinal Jean Villot was with the Pope. It is almost certain that he will also come to Australia. The 10 to 20 other persons include high Vatican officials, the Pope's secretaries, security guards (usually with the commander of the Vatican gendarmerie in charge), the Holy Father's physician, domestic servants and as many Journalists, photographers, television and radio reporters as the plane can take.

The Pope is an avid newspaper reader. When in Rome he spends an hour every morning perusing the world press and even when he travels he likes to go through the local papers. If it's possible the Pope likes to stay at the nunciatures, which are "Vatican territory". However, where he will spend the one or two nights in Sydney is still uncertain. For even if everybody else moved out for the duration of the Pontiff's visit, the house of the Apostolic Delegation would be too small for the Pope and for his closest retinue. However, as the Apostolic Delegation seems unsuitable, other possible alternatives include Cardinal Gilroy's residence in Darling Point, some Catholic institutions and even Government House, Kirribilli - if some problems of protocol can be overcome.

ALTHOUGH THE Pope's stay in Australia won't be a State visit, precedents suggest that he will he received at the airport by the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and other Commonwealth and State dignitaries.

So far, wherever he has gone, he has always been welcomed on arrival by the head of State. For example, in Turkey he was received (and then farewelled) by President Cevdet Sunay, a Moslem, and in Geneva by Swiss President Ludwig von Moos, a Protestant. On several previous trips, Pope Paul received in audience not only the leaders of his own church but also those of other religions. In Bogota, for instance, the callers included representatives of the Jewish community led by the Chief Rabbi. Time permitting, this precedent may be repeated in Sydney. Time will be a major problem in Sydney, anyway.

 Crammed into some 48 hours, will be his participation at the special conferences of the bishops of Oceania — his immediate reason for coming — his celehration of a monster Mass probably at the Sydney Showground and his meeting with as many of the high and the humble who can be fitted in. It will take weeks before the detailed programme is known. But Australian church and State authorities are determined to make the first-ever visit of a Pope to Australia the success a historic event deserves.


By Dr. Emery Barcs 1970-5-8

TWENTY-FIVE years ago, on Tuesday, May 8, 1945, the overwhelming majority of mankind rejoiced in the news that Nazi Germany had unconditionally surrendered. World War II in Europe was over after five years, eight months and seven days of the most gigantic struggle ever recorded in history.

It was not the end of the war. Japan, although in full retreat, continued to fight. But is was generally assumed that Nippon could not resist for long the tremendous might of the Grand Alliance which would now be thrown against her.

The tremendous news was more or less expected ever since the first unconfirmed reports that Adolf Hitler, the man who had unleashed humanity's bloodiest tragedy, had committed suicide at his headquarters" in Berlin on April 30.

A couple of days later the German High Command officially announced the Fuehrer's death in a broadcast from Hamburg. With a last demonstration of Nazi spirit the announcement was preceded by solemn music from Wagner's Twilight of the Gods.

Before his death, Hitler willed that he should be succeeded as head of the German State by Grand Admiral of the Fleet, Karl Doenitz, a professional soldier and one of the top-ranking German officers who had wholeheartedly embraced Nazism.

The question was whether he would try to follow Hitler's order and continue the senseless resistance until Germany and Germania were literally exterminated.


In his megalomaniac madness Hitler once told Albert Speer, his trusted Minister of Armament:  "If the war is lost the German people will also be lost. There is no need to pay any consideration to the necessities for this people's primitive continuation of existence... Those Germans who will survive will be the worthless anyway; for the worthy will be dead."

Fortunately some common sense still prevailed. On May 7, Doenitz ordered the unconditional surrender of all German fighting forces and at 2.41 am. on the eighth General Jodi signed the surrender document for the Western Front and Field Marshall Kietel did so on the Eastern Front.

On the same day, Prime Minister Churchill and President Truman officially announced the end of the war. Stalin, for some reason or another, did so the following day.

Because of the time lag Australia officially celebrated the victory in Europe (V-E Day) on Wednesday the 9th. But in Canberra the previous afternoon Acting Prime. Minister Chifley (Prime Minister Curtin was ill) announced the great event to a cheering parliament.

Perhaps partly beeause this task still lay ahead and thousands of Australians on the Pacific fighting fronts and in Japanese POW camps had no prospect of returning immediately, and partly because no celebrations had been organised, Sydney did not lose its head over victory in Europe.

There was some spontaneous Jubilation in Martin Place during the cold and blustery late afternoon and evening of Tuesday, when people leaving shops and offices gathered there shouting, singing and waving little flags.

A few of the inner city's main streets were also covered with confetti made of torn papers which showered from offices just before closing time, But a train strike, starting at midnight, had been announced (and was duly held) and people tried to get home early. Those who lingered were stranded.

Wednesday, the official holiday, was quiet. Shops, pubs, theatres, cinemas and most cafes and restaurants were closed. Only Miss Pnina Salzmann's piano recital in aid of the Red Cross was held as scheduled

Yet this unintentionally mournful atmosphere was probably more fitting than a show of unbounded joy. Victory, superbly gratifying as it was, had been achieved at a terrific price.

When the final accounts of the whole of World War II (in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific) were drawn up, they showed that an estimated 50 million people had lost their lives as a result of fighting, bombardments extermination camps and other causes directly attributable to the war and to Hitler's policies between 1939 and 1945.

The Bank of International Settlements estimated in 1946 the direct costs of World War II at $844,000 million (compared with $210,000 million in World War I).

But a U. S. Treasury estimate put the figure at $1,040,000 million. In addition, property losses were estimated at $230,000 million (against $24,600 million in World War I). These astronomical costs are expressed in money Values of a quarter or a century ago. Adjusted to current values they would be probably between five and seven times higher.

Of course nobody can statistically express suffering. And to say that between 1939 and 1945 hundreds of millions of people went through sheer hell is merely a banal approximation


Germany had her share of the devastation of property and decimation of people, During the nearly 2000 days of war in Europe and in North Africa, some four million German soldiers were killed and another four million German men, women and children lost their lives as refugees or during air raids.

In addition there were some five million wounded and innumerable widows and orphans. In 1945, practically every second German lived either in holes in the ground, in bunkers, barracks, camps, military hospitals, in cellars or in ruins.

People in the victorious countries who mourned their own dead and began to think of clearing away the rubble in their own devastated towns and villages had no time to feel sorry for the terrible plight of the Germans.

Not surprisingly, arguments that not the German people but Hitler's totalitarian system was responsible for the horrors -- and that what happened in Germany could be repeated elsewhere unless humanity learned a lesson -- fell on deaf ears.

Nobody really knew how to deal with the c.70 million Germans in the post-war world. Re-education, turning Germany into a perpetual community with no chance of building a war industry again, breaking up the German State into fragments, were among the most popular suggestions.

Only the Soviet regime under the omnipotent thumb of Stalin had a definite idea. At the end of April, 1945 -- while fighting still went on -- a planeload of German Communists left Moscow for Germany. They included Walter Ulbricht, Wilhelm Pieck and Otto Winzer.


They were groomed in the Soviet capital during the war years for  their future role: to be the future leaders of Communist Germany, subservient to the Soviet Union and hostile to Russia's Western allies.

Had they -- and Stalin -- succeeded, today some 76 million Germans would share the fate of Poles, Czechoslovaks, Hungarians, Romanians and Bulgarians all "voluntarily" living in Communist paradises.

As it is Herr Ulbricht and his associates now rule only about some 17 million East Germans, whom they have to surround with barbed wire fences and walls to prevent their exodus from the promised land.

Today the overwhelming majority of West Germans would like to forget the tragic past which a decreasing number of them remembers from experience. Many resent any reminder of what happened between 1933 and 1945 while the Nazis were in absolute power.

Yet today the West German Parliament will hold a session to remember those years and their consequences.

Chancellor Willy Brandt will be the main speaker. He is expected to tell Germans -- and the world --that May 8, 1945, was a turning, point from dictatorship to the beginnings of a democratic era in which his people hope and want to live permanently at peace with all men, wherever they are and whatever their political creed.


By Dr Emery Barcs 1970-2-20

THE decision of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt to meet East German Premier Willi Stoph, in East Berlin, has been a shrewd move on the murky chess-board of all-German relations. For Herr Brandt has accepted the East German invitation with the proviso that the Communists set no preconditions to the beginning of the talks.

The implication of Herr Brandt's "I'm ready to go, but..." is that if the East German Ulbricht regime wants to talk to him about the normalisation of relations between the divided nation, it must stop demanding Bonn's full international recognition of the Red-ruled German Democratic Republic.

Since the formation Of the Grand Coalition at the end of 1966 between Christian Democrats and Social Democrats (which was replaced by a Social Democrat Free Democrat coalition after last year's elections). West Germany has tried hard to establish friendlier relations with the Soviet bloc.  It has suggested a treaty renouncing the use of force to alter existing frontiers and to reunite Germany. But, it has insisted that East and West Germans must remain part of one nation," although they are ruled by different governments.

So far Herr Ulbricht and his men have flatly refused to enter into any special relationship with West Germany.  They have insisted that the Federal Republic of (West) Germany must treat the German Democratic Republic as any other foreign country.

The reasons for the cramped efforts to keep Germans permanently separated are obvious.  A special relationship would probably involve the easing of contacts between the people of the two sides of the border, including the demolition of the Berlin Wall, which has prevented East Germans from fleeing to the West.

However, the Ulbricht regime cannot afford to facilitate the exodus to the Federal Republic, despite improved economic conditions in East Germany. Hence it must stick to its right to seal the frontiers as tightly as possible.

In addition, the communists rule East Germany not by popular consent -- there has never been a free election in the "Democratic" Republic -- but by the force of Soviet arms and of a Red police State.

Therefore, West German recognition of the East German Communist regime as the government of an entirely separate sovereign State would give it the legality which Herr Ulbricht has sought for more than 20 years.

Until now, the Kremlin and its Eastern European satellites have fully supported Herr Ulbricht's aspirations. They are still vocal about them -- but with a slight difference.

Recently East Germany's two staunchest supporters -- the Soviet Union and Poland -- have agreed to hold preliminary talks with Bonn about the treaty on the renunciation of force and all that this involves.

The results of the discussions which two West German Secretaries of State, Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz and Egon Bahr, have held in Warsaw and in Moscow are not publicly known.  But they seem to have opened the way for discussions on higher government levels between Bonn on one side and Poland and the Soviet Union on the other.

The positive response from these two governments to West German diplomatic efforts has certainly contributed to Herr Stoph's recent invitation to Herr Brandt to go to East Berlin.

Herr Stoph's letter to Brandt included passages which appeared to be unacceptable to the West Germans.  It restated East German insistance in full recognition as the precondition for talks about anything else. It emphasised that Berlin (not just East Berlin) was the capital of the Democratic Republic.

Rightly or wrongly, some German and foreign politicians and political analysts have concluded from the letter that, despite the "invitation," East Germany wanted Herr Brandt to refuse to go to East Berlin. This, in turn, gave rise to speculations about a rift between East Berlin and Moscow and Warsaw about their respective future relations with Bonn.

Personally, I think that these speculations are merely the results of wishful thinking.  I prefer the theory that the three governments have merely been assigned different roles, with the Russians and the Poles now talking softly and the East Germans remaining tough.  They have every reason to follow such well-proved tactics and to see where they lead.

Anyway, if Herr Brandt does go to East Berlin he will not take with him his Foreign Minister, Walter Scheel, to emphasise that he is not meeting members of a foreign government.

On the other hand, Herr Stoph announced in his letter that if lie meets Herr Brandt, the East German Foreign Minister, Otto Winter, will be present, just to show that the discussions are not about internal German affairs.

So the two sides will still be poles apart, even if Herr Brandt sits down with Herr Stoph at a conference table.


By Emery Barcs 1969-8-26

In early September, 1931, a terrible railway disaster in Hungary sparked off a political vendetta and two innocent men were hanged.

On February 27, 1933. the capture of an imbecile young Dutchman at the scene of a fire gave Hitler the excuse to grab power in Germany.

On December 1, 1934, a young Communist shot dead a leading Party member and Joseph Stalin used it as a pretext to start the terrible purges in which hundreds of thousands perished and millions more became slaves.

On the night of November 9, 1938, the Nazis killed and imprisoned thousands of German Jews and burned hundreds of synagogues -- all because of a senseless murder in Paris two days earlier.

These are a few examples of how individual terrorist acts -- or even common crimes -- can serve as excuses for political retaliation against innocent people.

They are worth remembering when one considers the burning last week of the El Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.  Sheer logic suggests that if conspirators were responsible for the disaster they did not act on behalf of any open or secret Israeli Government organisation.

The Israeli Government would have been mad to supply the necessary catalyst for both Arab fury and (still incomplete) unity by masterminding the destruction of one of the holiest Moslem places.

Unfortunately, however, the examples previously mentioned show how situations like this can get out of hand -- or be used to somebody's advantage.

Perhaps one of the most bizarre took place in Hungary in 1931 against two secret Communist leaders: Sallai and Fuerst.


Early in September, 1931, a viaduct near the village of Biatorbagy, on the main Budapest-Vienna railway line, collapsed as a passenger train was crossing.  Dozens of people died and scores were injured.  Subsequent investigations proved that sabotage caused the catastrophe. The viaduct had been dynamited.

But who could have committed such a crime? And for what purpose?
Nobody knew, but about that time the political police had been informed that the underground Communist Party (outlawed in the country since the collapse of Bela Kun's Red regime in 1919) was expecting important emissaries from the Comintern.

This was the Russian organisation established in 1919 to give Communists world leadership of the socialist movement. It was dissolved in 1943 to reassure Stalin's World War II allies).

The jumpy Horthy regime of Hungary, convinced that the explosion at Biatorbagy was a signal for a Communist uprising, declared martial law.  The political police arrested the two Comintern envoys -- Sallai and Fuerst. They were tried and hanged.

Months later, police arrested the real culprit of the Biatorbagy explosion. He was a middle-aged civil engineer, Sylvester Matuska, a completely non-political maniac who had carried out the deed "under orders" from an imaginary spiritual leader he named "Leo."

"Crystal Night" was the name given to the terrible Nazi pogrom on the night of November 9, 1938.  Two days earlier, a 17¬year-old Polish Jew, Herschel Seibel Grynszpan, shot dead with a revolver Ernst von Rath, a secretary at the German Embassy in Paris.  Grynszpan told police he really wanted to kill the German Ambassador to "revenge the Jews and to draw the world's attention to the Nazi misdeeds in Germany."  He had no accomplices.


Yet this senseless murder by a loner (von Rath was not even a Nazi) was branded by Herr Goebbels, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda, as "a new attack on the Third Reich by world Jewry."

And he called for retaliation. It came 48 hours later, on "Crystal Night.",  Some 267 synagogues were burned (with the help of fire brigades -- with orders to sprinkle the fames with petrol instead of water); 7500 Jewish-owned shops were destroyed and 30,000 Jews arrested and put in concentration camps at Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsen hausen.

Nazis themselves admitted the murder of 36 Jews, though the real figure was probably much higher. Thousands were driven from their homes, which the mob then plundered.


The Hitlerites staged the Reichstag fire. Hitler had come to power four weeks earlier but there was still a parliament and the Nazi hold on the nation was by no means complete.  He needed a pretext - for establishing the brown-shirt dictatorship over the German nation.

So the Nazis set the Reichstag ablaze, but blamed the Communists.
Their proof was an imbecile young Dutchman, van der Lubbe, found on the spot with a can of fuel in his hand and a Communist Party membership book in his pocket.

Next day the Nazis began a wave of arrests. Among those held were three Bulgarian Communists living in Berlin -- Dimitroff, Taneff and Popoff and the German Communist leader, Torgler. They were charged with complicity with van der Lubbe.

The charges were such incredible fabrications that a court later had to acquit them.

But the unfortunate young Dutchman, who was completely apathetic and incapable of coherent speech during the trial (he was certainly doped) was sentenced to death and executed.

The "loner" who gave Stalin the excuse for starting the terrible wave of purges between 1935 and 1938 was L. Nikolaev, a young Communist allegedly in revolt against the policies of the Party.  On December 1, 1934 he shot dead Serge Kirov, a member of the Politburo, head of the Leningrad party organisation and supposedly one of Stalin's closest collaborators.

The purges were staged to "save" the Soviet Union from the conspiracy of its internal enemies, whose dastardly deeds were supposedly unmasked during investigations following the Kirov murder.


What these various incidents have in common is that their murky backgrounds have not been revealed to everybody's satisfaction.
Until a man is found guilty he is deemed to be innocent and so we don't know whether the Australian charged with burning down the El Aqsa mosque really did it and if so, why.

But we can take it for granted that his trial which will be held so publicly that any attempt at "covering up" would be immediately discovered and denounced -- will not satisfy everybody either.  A new legend will be born .. and that legend won't help ease the explosive Middle East situation.


By Emery Barcs 1968-9-20

AFTER 23 years of spurious excuses and double-talk the Soviet authorities have now agreed to allow West German war crime investigators to search Nazi documents which the Russians seized in Germany after the end of World War II.  The West Germans want to see these papers to uncover war crimes which have not yet been punished and bring the criminals to court.

Although the Soviet Government has taken plenty of time to make up its mind it has still not said whether the eight West Germans who will work in Moscow will be allowed to see all the papers, not merely some selected by Soviet officials for perusal.

Normal logic suggests that the Soviets would have every interest in helping to hunt down Nazi criminals by opening their archives to West German investigators and in raising hell if justice were not done despite incriminating proofs.

But apart from their habitual secretiveness the men in the Kremlin had a reason for not wanting to show what they had

In this way they could -- and indeed did -- open their cupboards and fish out a document whenever a former Nazi Party member, who had managed to conceal his past, rose to some prominence in the West German Federal Republic.


Four years ago when the Statute of Limitations for war crimes (20 years) was about to expire in West Germany, and the danger arose that Nazi criminals could escape scot free from the consequences of their deeds, Bonn asked all interested governments to reveal all relevant material in their possession to enable the West German authorities to prosecute the culprits.

Some countries -- including Czechoslovakia and Poland -- agreed to admit West German investigators.  But the Soviet Union and East Germany which probably have the largest number and the most important documents in their archives refused to comply with the request.

In January, 1965, the Soviet Government even charged the West German Government with duplicity, saying that Bonn only wanted to know the contents of certain documents to amnesty the "Fascist murderers" and not to punish them.

(Eventually the Statute of Limitations on war crimes was extended so that now no escape from punishment is possible.)

East Germany acted likewise. Clearly, neither Moscow nor East Berlin were primarily concerned with punishment for the Nazi criminals. They wanted to gain political profit from their hoard of documents whenever the opportunity arose.


The East Germans, however, had another motive for refusing to divulge their documentary proofs on Nazis. For throwing open their archives would have revealed that former Nazis did not manage to rise to positions of importance only in West Germany, but also in the allegedly untainted "Democratic" Republic.

Of course, the names of a number of East Germans who had been prominent Nazis under Hitler and who have been equally prominent Communists under Ulbricht were well known. But the point is that perusal of the documents held by East Germany would have unearthed additional names.

On June 11, 1965, the English language propaganda sheet of the East German Government, the Democratic German Report, edited by an Englishman and published in East Berlin, explained why former Nazis were allowed to hold positions in the German "Democratic" Republic.

After asserting that no "leading figures" in the East German army and judiciary were ex-Nazis, the paper continued: "There are, however, a number of people in posts of responsibility who were in fact members of the Nazi Party. The Minister of Culture appears on the rolls of Nazi Party members; he was 18 when the war ended.  "The Minister of Agriculture was 20 when the war ended. Both these men can be truly described as "nominal Nazis." They had no real choice in the matter.

"A few former Nazi Party members who broke with Hitler in 1943 and played a prominent part in the 'Free Germany National Committee' formed in the Soviet Union, and took part in dangerous front - line work against Hitler are also in leading posts; most prominent of them is Heinrich Homann, a deputy chairman of the State Council, who was sentenced to death by the Nazis in absentia."

This would be fair enough if the Soviets and the East Germans applied the same standards in East Germany and in West Germany to ex-Nazis who joined the party as mere boys or who eventually turned against Hitler although 1943 seems a bit late in the day.

But Moscow and East Berlin apply blatant double-standards. Disillusioned former Nazis are all right as long as they now help build Communism in East Germany. But they are incorrigible Fascist criminals if they live in West Germany.


Of course, quite a few Nazis who have or had managed to hide their past did commit crimes under the Hitler era. And they should be called to account for their deeds no matter on which side of the border they live.

Strangely, however, the Ulbricht regime keeps employing a number of prominent former Nazis who did not show any aversion to the Fuehrer until well after his defeat in 1945.

On September 6, Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Viennese "Nazi-hunter," who has done much to bring prominent war criminals before justice, published a list of 39 prominent ex-Nazis who are now playing leading roles in East Germany's propaganda organisations. The names include:

Kurt Blecha, now chief of the Press Bureau of the East German Council of Ministers.

Hans Walter, a former Gestapo agent and now editor-in-chief of the official foreign politics weekly, Deutsche Aussenpolitik.

Horst Dressler-Andress, former president of the Nazi Reichs Broadcasting Chamber and at present a member of the East German Socialist Unity Party's (Communists) Agitation and Propaganda Department.

None of these gentlemen had ever cared to admit his former adherence to Hitler's propaganda organisation. They do, however, continue to write the sort of language which was fashionable in the Third Reich.

For example, just before the Warsaw Pact countries' invasion of Czechoslovakia the official East German Communist Party daily Neue Deutschland (New Germany) of East Berlin appeared with the front-page headline: "Zionism Now Rules in Prague."

Thirty years ago, before the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia, Hitler's official daily, the Voelkischer Beobachter, published a similar headline on its front page: "Jews Now Rule in Prague."

If the Soviets now permit the West German investigators to peruse all Nazi documents in their possession it is quite likely that a number of crimes will be detected; crimes whose perpetrators may now live anywhere -- including East and West Germany.  Some of these may even hold responsible positions in either country.

But just 'because of the very likely chance of upsetting discoveries of this kind in the Federal Republic and in East Germany no one would be surprised if the investigators in Moscow were handed carefully selected documents which proved that all former war-criminals are to be found in the West and that none had contaminated the East.

If this happens one can be sure of the subsequent chanting of the comrades: "Didn't we say so..."


By Emery Barcs 1968-8-29

AN unprecedented rebellion of Western Communist Parties against the Kremlin leadership has been the most important side-effect of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and its Polish, East German, Hungarian and Bulgarian satellites.

The Western comrades' denunciations of Brezhnev and his associates have varied in phrasing and intensity.

The French, for instance, have been more guarded than the Scandinavians while the Italians, who run the largest Communist Party west of the Iron Curtain, have been the most outspoken in their condemnation of Moscow's Czech policies.

Italy's Communists, led by Secretary - General Luigi Longo, have a special reason for feeling upset and for clearly expressing their indignation. The occupation of Czechoslovakia by "fraternal" forces may have robbed them of the long-awaited chance of participating in the Government in Italy.

During my recent visit to Italy, Communist intellectuals never tired of explaining to me that Stalinism was dead, that Communist strong-arm methods were a thing of the past and that their party, the PCI, was a "democratic parliamentary force something like the liberal Communist Party of Czechoslovakia."

When I expressed my doubts that the Soviet leaders -- or any other Communist regime -- could tolerate freedom in Czechoslovakia because the Czech example would start an epidemic of demands for freedom in the whole Soviet bloc undermining the Party's power everywhere, the standard answer was that I lived and thought in the past which was no longer applicable.

Last week this past was applied in Czechoslovakia and no wonder that the PCI felt cheated.  In a Press statement, the Party declared the military intervention "grave and unjustified," and added that the PCI was "unable to reconcile it with the right of independence of every Communist Party."

Despite this stand, the Italian Communist Party undoubtedly feels --  and rightly -- that it will take time before it can make the country's non-Communist Left forget what happened to Czechoslovakia and to persuade it to enter into an alliance with the PCI.

Admittedly, even before the Czechoslovakian events there was only a slightly chance of a Grand Left coalition, as advocated by the PCI.  Such a coalition would have included Communists, the Left Wing of the Christian Democratic Party, Social Democrats and the new Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity (a dissident Social Democratic group) which ran for the first time during the last parliamentary elections in May and gained 23 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 14 seats in the Senate.

But the point is that there was some chance of a Grand Left. Before the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the Left Wing of the Christian Democrats (DC), led by Donat Cattin, was inclined to open a dialogue with the Communists to further long-overdue forms blocked by the DC's conservatives.

Now Donat Cattin and his followers will almost certainly have second thoughts about the advisability of flirting with the PCI, despite the Party's denunciation of the suppression of freedom in Czechoslovakia.

It is also improbable that the ludicrous political situation in which Italy now finds itself and which has contributed to the Communist hopes of sharing power will arise again.

Since last June, Italy has had a minority Christian Democratic caretaker Government led by Signor Giovanni Leone, 60, a Senator for life and a Professor of Penal Law and Procedure at Rome University.

The reason for the formation of this "Government for the bathing season," as it is facetiously called, must be one of the oddest in the history of parliamentary democracy.

Last May general elections were held in Italy and the governing Centre Left coalition of Christian Democrats, United Socialists and Republicans was returned with a handsome majority. It won 366 of a total of 630 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

However, while the Christian Democrats increased their seats by six, the United Socialists lost the same number.  Some of the Socialists (among them, I was told, Giuseppe Saragat, President of Italy) blamed their loss of seats on the Christian Democratic hesitancy to carry out reforms.

Hence they decided to withdraw from the coalition until after the United Socialist Party congress next October which will decide whether the Centre-Left regime should be re-established. (The Republicans also withdrew from the coalition.)

Many influential Socialists, including veteran party leader Pietro Nenni, now believe that their withdrawal from the coalition was a political mistake and that they ought to rejoin the Government as soon as possible. Few people in Italian politics seem to doubt that the Socialists will do so after their meeting in October.

But they want a firm assurance that the Christian Democrats will cooperate fully during the next five years in developing Italy into a fully fledged social welfare State, and that certain reforms -- such as the modernisation of education and public administration -- will be put through in the life of this parliament.

The Communists had hoped that the uncertainties caused by the coalition crisis would provide the chance for establishing a Grand Left regime in which they could join and hold some of the key Government positions.

At the beginning of this month when I was in Rome many politically articulate Italians to whom I talked (including some strongly anti-Communists) did not rule out the possibility that the comrades might succeed.

The Kremlin's rape of Czechoslovakia has un-doubtedly ended the PCI's high hopes because -- at least for the time being -- it has made Communism as unpalatable in Italy as it is elsewhere in Western Europe.

But whether the PCI will regain its popularity in Italy depends less on the Communist Party than on the regime which will emerge after next October's United Socialist Congress.

For under the gay and congenial surface of Italian life there is serious discontent in the country. The reason for this is that while Italy's economic progress since the end of World War II has been impressive, the improvements in living conditions have been spread unevenly and have hardly reached some categories of the people.

The industrial worker is relatively much better off than he was, say, 30 years ago. It is the white collar worker -- including public servants, teachers, minor academics -- who feel they do not enjoy any of the benefits of the overall economic progress.

It is this class of people, numbering many millions, whose income lags badly behind its zest for life, and it is here one finds some of the most acid criticism of the present state of affairs in Italy, and the greatest disaffection with the regime. 

Some of them have been Communist Party members. Many more have consistently voted for the party in the past.  And unless sound politics remedy their grievances they may do so in the future, helping the Italian Communist Party ultimately to stage a strong comeback -- unlikely as this may appeal in the present atmosphere of disillusionment with Communism.


By Dr Emery Barcs 1967-9-4

The ugly brawl outside the Red Chinese Embassy in London last week makes one wonder more than ever whether there is any rational explanation for the events in Mao Tse Tung's Communist empire.

Sixteen months have passed since Red Chinese Premier, Chou En Lai, announced the official beginning of the Great Cultural Revolution in Peking on the eve of May Day, 1966.

Since then hundreds of the most competent "China Watchers" on both sides of the Iron Curtain have been trying to find out why this revolution had been launched, what it is all about, and where it is supposed to lead the 700 million Inhabitants of the People's Republic of China.

Dozens of theories have been developed. However, the trouble with most of them is that, say, Theory A sounds quite acceptable until one reads Theory B which is also plausible although exactly the opposite of A.

Some of the most popular of these analyses are:

*    Mao Tse Tung was critically ill in body or mind (or both) for some time    before May, 1966.

*    The cultural revolution is nothing but a struggle for power Between Mao's lieutenants led by Army boss Lin Piao on the one hand, and President Liu Shao Chi on the other.

*    Mao is in full control of his mental and physical powers. He launched the Cultural Revolution as a super effort to purge the Chinese Communist Party of "influential power holders" who sympathised with the slower pace of the Russian way to Communism in opposition to Mao's instant Communism.

*    Mao (still sane and healthy) believes in a permanent revolution.  He was apprehensive about the rise of a New Class of leaders in Red China similar to those in the Soviet orbit.

*    The Cultural Revolution is only a practical application of the theory of class struggle.

The reasons why Mao (or someone else) has let millions of teenagers loose on a nihilistic rampage may be unfathomable, but some of the consequences of the Great Cultural Revolution are clearly visible.

One is that, as a result of the crazy pattern of the Mao regime's foreign policy, Red China now stands isolated because the Peking Government has developed the making of enemies into a fine art.

One could understand the Chinese Communists' feelings towards the United States which has been the main protector of the nationalists in Taiwan.  Even if one sides with Washington one must admit that there are rational grounds for Peking's hostility towards Uncle Sam.

But the point is that Peking has been at great pains to offend its potential friends as well. The Mao regime has challenged Britain, the first Western Power to recognise Red China, over Hong Kong, and when this had not produced the expected British surrender, it organised a barbaric assault on Britain's representatives in Peking.

Relations with the Soviet Union have been worsened by submitting Soviet ships to such humiliations in Chinese ports that Moscow has threatened to break all trade contacts with Communist China.

India, once Peking's staunchest friend in Asia, has been attacked, and tension between the two countries is at a permanent high.

Relations with Indonesia are deteriorating day by day.

Burma has been submitted to indignities from the local Red Guards, young militants of the Chinese minority.

Ceylon has been threatened with the cessation of Red Chinese rice sales because the Government in Colombo dared to seize subversive propaganda material sent from Red China.

Even the Japanese Communist Party -- Peking's most ardent admirer not so long ago -- recently complained about Red Chinese interference in its affairs.

Red China now has no friends in the world except tiny Albania, where the Hoxha regime entirely depends on Peking's support, and - insignificant pro-Peking Communist splinter groups in a number of countries, and a rather shaky love affair with Pakistan.

China, huge, populous, and potentially strong, could establish itself as a really great Power by its own strength and without outside goodwill or help.  But to achieve this the Chinese would have to combine enormous human efforts with brilliant political and economic leadership.

As far as one can gauge, the Cultural Revolution has sapped whatever determination for such effort existed, and has reduced efficient leadership to hesitating impotence.

Juni Kossiukov, former China correspondent of the Moscow daily Izvestia, who was recently expelled from Peking, has published the most up-to-date analysis of Red China's economy in the latest issue of the Soviet periodical, New Times

He writes that the interference of the Red Guards with production, and the mobilisation of workers and peasants in the fight for the Cultural Revolution have completely disrupted the country's ailing agriculture and industry.

According to him, unemployment is enormous and steadily increasing. There are no jobs for the two million young men and women who swell the work force annually.

Teaching has ceased or has been hopelessly disrupted in schools and universities.

Intellectuals, scientists, and technicians have been humiliated and cowed, and often beaten or otherwise ill-treated by the Red Guards for alleged unrevolutionary attitudes.

Where all this will lead is anybody's guess. But if collective insanity is not stopped soon then Red China could fall to pieces, or sheer desperation could transform her into the mightiest homicidal lunatic history has ever known.

Such a monster with the Bomb in its hands is hardly a prospect one can enjoy