3 SEPTEMBER 1943, Page 14


Sta,---Mr. Howell's letter and Mr Nicolson's article in your issue of August 27th make one hope that the allied leaders were not entirely sincere in drawing up the clause in the Atlantic Charter which promised each nation a free choice of its form of government. Democracy is notoriously uncongenial to Latin countries, and no authoritarian State there or in Germany after the war would be likely to take the discredited label of " Fascist " or "Nazi." Do we still pretend to believe• that the governments called by those names were not freely chosen by the Italian and German peoples—I do not of course mean by direct voting, but by indirect approval and sufferance?

Perhaps it would have been wiser for the Charter to say that the form of Government chosen by any country would have to undergo a period of probation and be tried by its remits. This method might work if England and America are prepared to maintain reasonably large armed forces for say five years after the war, but it is necessary to remember that no democracy will tolerate the cost or strain of remaining fully armed for any long period; and as Mr. Bracken has said in New York that the idea of re-educating Germany after the war is nonsense, Mr. Howell's plan or something like it may have to be adopted. Perhaps we hope it may safely be left to the Russians!—Yours faithfully,