3 MAY 1946, Page 15


Sin,—Mr. Kenneth Stuart is correct in thinking that he will be called un-Christian and inhumane for the sentiments he has expressed in his letter last week, but let that pass. What should not be allowed to pass without protest is the assumption which underlies his letter that we are keeping the Germans short of food because they are impenitent, whereas the true reason is that there is a world food shortage and that other countries—Germany's former victims—naturally come first. Mr. Stuart implies that we could feed the Germans properly if we liked, but that we ought not to do so until they are penitent. Incidentally, this starvation treatment is not the way to make people penitent ; it is much more likely to fill them with bitterness and hate. There is a further suggestion that it will be dangerous to " feed them up " lest they start another war. Are they therefore to be kept on r,000 calories a day until they are all dead, as we are told they will be unless they can supplement their rations in the black market?

Then there is the question of responsibility. Of course we are respon- sible for them. We forced unconditional surrender upon them. We have put them within a ring-fence in a region which, being industrial, could not feed itself even in normal times, and was dependent on food imported from Eastern Germany. From that food we have now cut them off, They are entirely dependent upon what we give them. We cannot let them die on our hands. We stand before the bar of world public opinion, and if we do not do something speedily to raise the ration I foresee that in years to come we shall look back with shame on this period in our history and wonder how we allowed it to happen.—I am, yours, &c.,