10 SEPTEMBER 1948, Page 2

A Polish Heretic

Last week-end's admission from Warsaw of heresy in high places is described in the Communist Press as an object lesson in political- self-criticism. In fact it is the culmination of a particularly. tortuous manoeuvre as the result of which Moscow has succeeded in getting rid of the most outstanding " Nationalist Communist " in Poland. It had been known for some months that Mr. Gomulka, the Secretary-General of the Communist party in Poland and Vice-Prime Minister, in the Government, had differences of opinion with his more orthodox col- leagues on important matters of policy. But there was no open admis- sion of this domestic trouble. " Illness " kept Mr. Gomulka away from his office for weeks at a time, and for no overt reason he was absent from the Bucharest meeting of the Cominform which condemned Tito. Even now, his disgrace is contrived by the expedient of bringing back President Bierut. to the active control of the Communist party over Mr. Gomulka's head, thus avoiding the scandal of his expulsion from the party, and the resentment which this would cause among his many sympathisers. Mr. Gomulka's crimes are substantially the

same as those of which Marshal Tito has been found guilty ; a reluctance to subordinate Polish policy to Russian direction and excessive respect for the objections of the peasants to collec- tivisation. In Poland the role of the peasants in the task of national recovery is even more important than it is in Yugoslavia. Not only has Poland suffered greater devastation as a result of the war, but she also has to colonise and resettle huge agricultural areas which she has won from Germany. To a certain extent the mass movements of population which this involves make the work of collectivisation easier, but Mr. Gomulka is right in believing that peasants need careful handling. For the matter of that, it might have been thought that the Russians had plenty of experience of the trouble which can be caused by a hostile peasantry, even though they have admittedly developed a certain technique for dealing with them.