13 DECEMBER 1940, Page 2

Mr. Hoover and Hungry Europe

There will be the greatest sympathy in this country with the humanitarian desire of the American "National Com- mittee for the Five Small Democracies," presided over by Mr. Hoover, to send food to the people of Finland, Norway, Belgium, Holland and Central Poland. Yet the British answer is and must be No. There would be no shortage of food in those countries if the Germans would refrain from carrying it away or would organise its distribution. If we permitted food to pass through the blockade for the relief of dependent populations that particular food might not go to Germans, but it would replace food supplies which Germany has already carried off and even encourage her in further plundering. The answer to Mr. Hoover's contention is given by another American organisation led by Mrs. Goddard Leach—The feed- ing of the countries enslaved by Hitler would make Hitler's task easier. The American playwright, Mr. Robert Sherwood, pertinently draws attention to the fact that it is the fear of starvation under the pressure of blockade that confirms General Franco in his determination to keep Spain out of the war. Britain has taken steps to ensure the transit of food to countries that remain neutral, and has collected reserves of food to throw into any country which shakes off the German yoke, but it would be false humanitarianism to prolong the war by helping Hitler to feed those whom he has deprived and enslaved.