Portrait of the Week
MR. KHRUSHCHEV is still smiling, though, as he himself has pointed out, his smiles do not mean any abandonment of the basic principles of Marx and Lenin. The visit of the East German delegation to Moscow, which forms the main diplomatic news of the week, has been remarkable for a display of warmth on the Soviet side designed to show that, while there is a decent measure of joy, in the Kremlin over one West German who repenteth, the USSR prefers her children unprodigal from the start. Herr Grotewohl and Herr Ulbricht certainly qualify for this description and have been proportionately rewarded with gifts even more tan- gible than the Old Bolshevik solidarity-handshake. The Soviet High Commissioner in Berlin has been turned into an ambassa- dor, Control Commission laws enacted between 1945 and 1948 have been declared invalid, East German troops are to take over all frontier duties, and the West German Government will consequently have to negotiate directly with their Eastern opposite numbers over questions like inter-zonal crossings, customs and so forth. A sinister note has already been struck by Herr Ulbricht concerning the way in which these powers might be used to hinder the traffic between West Germany and Berlin.
For his part, Dr. Adenauer seems to have consolidated the prestige he won in the Federal Republic by his firm conduct of the Moscow talks. In spite of an attempt by the East Ger- mans to take the credit for the release of Getman prisoners held in Russia, this achievement has been recognised by the West German press as belonging to him and as necessitating in return the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. On the essential matter .of German reunification Dr. Adenauer maintained his position, in spite of great pressure on the part of the Russians for him to deal directly with the Pankow Government. The Saar question, which has been boil- ing up again this week with the approach of the plebiscite, may give him more trouble.
The East Germans have not been the only visitors to Moscow this week. The Finns have been there too to sign a pact of friendship that restores to Finland the. Porkkala enclave, which has been a Russian base since the end of the war. Marshaj Bulganin accompanied the announcement of this concession with some pointed remarks on. how much the climate of international affairs would be improved if all the Great Powers gave up their bases on foreign territory—a point of view which was brusquely dealt with by the State Depart- ment spokesman the next day. , In Morocco the somewhat Byzantine manoeuvres to fill the post on the Council of the Throne left vacant by El Glaoui's refusal to participate continue to the sound of breaking glass from Paris. The French Resident-General has been shuttling back and forth between France and Morocco, while various French political figures have been making the journey in the opposite direction mainly with the purpose of putting a spoke in M. Faure's wheel. The difficulty is that, whereas Moroccan Nationalists refuse to accept a partisan of the reigning Sultan hen Arafa as the third man on the Council, his supporters and the French settlers are equally determined not to have a repre- sentative of Istittlul. A solution seemed to have been found in the person of General Kettani. a Moroccan officer serving in the French Ariny,•-but, having been advised by Marshal J uin not to come to the aid of the Government, which the Marshal is supposed to serve, the General refused to accept the position. The deadlock, therefore, continues, and the only hopeful de- velopment recently has been the carte blanche given by the French Cabinet to MM. Faure and July to deal with the Moroccan situation.
Other foreign news this week is headed by the revolt in Argentina (discussed elsewhere in this issue). In Cyprus also there have been riots, and the British Institute has been burned down in circumstances which reflect little credit on those responsible for maintaining public order. Mr. Ghulam Mohammed has resigned as Governor-General of Pakistan; his successor is Major-General Mirza, The President of Turkey is on a state visit to Persia, and Colonel Nasser has announced a withdrawal of Egyptian positions in the Gaza sector.
The main home news this week concerns the missing diplo- mats, on whose fate the Foreign Office has at last been bull- dozed into disgorging some information. Less unexpected is the information that the NCB has in the past quarter accumu- lated a deficit of £19 million. In London the conference on Malta has begun, and tough constitutional quizzing is ex- pected. Some newspapers have increased in price and (more important) so has bacon. Traffic signs are to be brought more into line with the hazards they represent, though as yet there is no prospect of the horrors of the continental exclamation mark being inflicted upon us. The eyes of motorists have been wistfully fixed on the map of the new motorway from London to Yorkshire, the first fifty miles of which are scheduled to be completed in 1959.
Sporting activity of note—apart from betting on the vagaries of hurricane Hilda—has been limited to the establishment of a new world record of 13 min. 46.8 sec. for the 5,000 metres by the Russian runner Kuts. A new Northumberland National Park area has been declared by the National Parks Com- mission. London students are not to be allowed their riot on Guy Fawkes night.