30 JANUARY 1942, Page 13


is,—Like so many of Vichy's apologists, Dr. Thomson is dogmatic Cher than •convincing. Surely it is worth remembering that it was fact Petain and Weygand who were responsible for the " great undamental mistake " of not contimOng the fight in Africa—a decision hich Dr. Thomson deplores. But it is wrong to think of this de- sion as of a mere error of judgement. The development of the situa- in France cannot be understood by going back to the military hack of June. Even from the military point of view these two mes, Petain and Weygand, are associated with a long period in which othing was done to recast France's defences on lines demanded by e conditions of modern war. But the political aspect is even more Portant than the military aspect. Politically Weygand and Petain.

mood and stand for an attitude of which the essence is the denial to epublican France of all claim to be France. It is not merely an Position to collectivist economics but to liberal politics. It is in last analysis the negation of the Revolution. Those who held ese views could not look with favour upon the prospects of a victory the Republic in France any more than they could in Spain, and St of all upon the prospects of a victory gained in circumstances h:ch would have linked France more closely with the -Western mocracies. As Petain's speeches reveal, the external situation is not nary for him, except as it affects the prospects of his " national solution." He may now consider that Germany is not after all lung enough to guarantee his position. He may continue to await nts. But to base British policy upon this, to discourage the French 'hose wish to be " free" is unqualified would be to repeat the mis- take we have so often made, to be unable to distinguish our friends from our enemies. In this matter, the Russians who have a certain war-time realism, are better guides than the State Department whose phrase about " so-called Free French " will perhaps go down as the prize " howler " of the war. But why elaborate on a point which Mr. Churchill put so well at Ottawa?—let us hope to the edification of his hosts.—I am, Sir, yours very truly. MAX BELOFF. The University, Manchester 13.