31 JANUARY 1941, Page 5

A variety of possible opinions may be held about Black

Record, the pamphlet embodying Sir Robert Vansittart's broadcast indictment of Germany (Hamish Hamilton, 6d.), about which the Prime Minister was questioned in the House of Commons on Tuesday. You can argue that what Sir Robert said was true and should be said ; that it was true but should not be said ; that it was true and should be said, but not by the Diplomatic Adviser to His Majesty's Government; or that t was not true and therefore should not be said. The strongest case can be made for the third of these contentions, though most dispassionate readers would hold that Sir Robert, quite apart from his official position, has weakened his case by over- stating it, and that when it comes to the use of words violence is not strength. His own motive in writing is explained by his statement that "I have met people here who, in smug insu- tty, refuse to credit, or even to hear, these horrors." That s true ; and it is well that we should be reminded from time to time how unimaginably foul the evil we are fighting can be. But there are few peoples of whom it can be said "there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Sir Robert, in fact, expressly guards against saying that of the German people in as many words, but the general effect of his pamphlet is a com- rehensive indictment against a whole nation.

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