15 NOVEMBER 1946, Page 1


THE only two gleams of hope to light up the sombre outlook in the British Zone of Germany are the fact that a foodship carrying 50o tons of grain from the Russian Zone has reached Ham- burg and that other vessels with similar cargoes are on the way ; and the satisfactory opening in Washington of conversations designed to effect the economic unity of the British and American Zones, with a scale of rationing common to both. Meanwhile, it is announced, the Americans will give the British Zone what help they can in its need. There would seem to be a fair prospect that the French may agree to the inclusion of their Zone in this arrange- ment, though they may prefer to assimilate its economy to that of France, which it adjoins. Russian intentions remain undisclosed. The Foreign Ministers will be beginning their discussions on Ger- many in a few days, and before these words are read the House of Commons will have expressed itself on the subject in the course of the debate on the Address. The food situation in the British Zone is desperate, and it is plainly indecent for this adequately fed country to be enjoying special food allowances at Christmas if by denying itself this it could mitigate in the smallest degree the conditions of virtual famine prevailing in the zone for which we are responsible in Germany. But other problems than that of food clamantly demand investigation. It is plain that in many respects the administration in the British Zone is open to grave criticism, and over and above that a decision is urgently needed on such questions as to whether denazification is to be pressed on, with tatal effects on industrial efficiency, and whether factories are to be dismantled for reparations when they ought to be put in full pro- duction for the benefit of German (and British) consumers and the export market. There is a disturbing impression that things in Germany are drifting and that the Cabinet at home is failing to face the complete overhaul that is imperatively needed.