15 DECEMBER 1944, Page 14


Sus,—The recent revival of interest in the post-war overseas trade position of Great Britain should be considered against the background of the White Paper on Britain's War Effort, because in that document are fully set out not only our contributions to the common cause over the past five years, but also the wear and tear involved. It is, thus, a summary of what the United Nations owe Great Britain. Without wishing in any way to enter into invidious comparisons, a similar statistical analysis would give a fair picture of the effort of each of the United Nations. If the latter idea is maintained, then the contribution to the British effort (whether as grants, loans, Lend-Lease, &c.) of the others is inadequate to compensate for Britain's outlay on behalf of the rest—in fact, it is not we who should be grateful for help received, but the others should thank Great Britain. (This is not to appear ungrateful, but merely to make a factual point.) The British position has been made heavier by various unilateral com- mitments—particularly within the Commonwealth. In this connexion, no member of the Commonwealth (except, perhaps, Australia) has anything like the same degree of mobilisation, restriction or wear and tear. Nor has it suffered from enemy action. (Enemy-occupied Empire territories are, obviously, excepted.) For post-war reconstruction, prestige and sentiment alone will have little poetical use: arrangements based on statistical considerations such as set out in the White Paper shall be both just and expedient.—Yours faithfully, "