3 SEPTEMBER 1937, Page 6


GREAT BRITAIN is apparently one of the countries in which Germany desires to appoint a cultural attaché. No one, of course, knows yet precisely what a cultural attaché is and no one can take exception to Germany's appointing one, though if she proposes to claim diplomatic status for him that is another matter, on which the Foreign Office is likely to take a lot of convincing. A great deal depends, in any case, on whether the gospel to be preached is the old traditional German culture, to which the debt of all the world is great —no one would or could have the least objection to that— or simply Nazi Party principles, about which nine-tenths of the people of this country have heard all and more than all they want to hear already. The real trouble, of course, about the spread of German culture in Britain is the suspicion that what it really means is the systematic harrying of non-Nazi Germans who are living peacefully in London and elsewhere. It is all very well for speakers at the Stuttgart Conference to protest that they have no desire to interfere with the domestic institutions of countries to which cultural attaches may be despatched. One of the domestic institutions which English- men care for most is the right to freedom of thought and, within all reasonable limits, freedom of speech. That extends to foreigners settled among us. Investigations designed to bring pressure on non-Nazi Germans here, often no doubt through threats to their relatives still in Germany, would be a form of persecution from which the victims ought to be given every possible protection.