24 DECEMBER 1948, Page 4


IHOPE the nation as a whole realises how much it owes to the Attorney-General, Sir Hartley Shawcross, for the part he has played in the proceedings before the Tribunal at Church House. As a mere physical feat Sir Hartley's cross-examination of witness after witness, added to occasional appearances in the House of Commons and political speeches at week-ends, is a notable achievement. But the capacity for that is the least valuable of the Attorney's qualities. What Sir Hartley has set himself to do, and what he has most notably succeeded in doing, is to defend the standards of public life and insist on the complete impeccability of men holding public office. That was no easy or congenial task ; in more than one case the Attorney might well have left it to his able colleague, Mr. G1bert Paull. But it devolved on him to make good the Prim: Minister's pledge that the inquiry should be exhaustive and unsparing, and it was under a constraining sense of duty that he directed day after day a remorseless searchlight on the conduct of men who were serving beside him in the Government. That he has substantially increased his already high reputation is, quite certainly, a matter of small consideration to him. To some men it is sufficient satisfaction to know that they have done what duty demanded of them. Sir Hartley Shawcross is beyond all question of that number.

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