4 MARCH 1949, Page 1

Thorez, Togliatti and Treason •

- The statements by two Communist leaders, M. Thorez in France and Signor Togliatti in Italy, to the effect that Communists would support any .Russian army which might enter their countries, have been attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. The first outcry in France in response to these treasonable utterances, the immediate move to debate the matter in the French Assembly, and the possible further moves to declare the French Communist Party illegal, all seemed to arise from an assumption that M. Thorez had revealed some new development in Communist policy. He of course revealed nothing of the sort. Collaboration between the Communist fifth column and a Communist invader is an essential part of both the doctrine and the tactics of Marxists. In all countries which are not at present governed by Communists treason to one's country and action in the class war are the same thing. This truth is old, but it must not be written down as unimportant. To do that it would be necessary to forget the deep scars left on French and Italian political memories by the stark facts of defeat, isolation, and widespread collaboration with the invaders during the war. The critical fact —the fact which stirs France to the depths and even makes the possible suppression of a political party with 5,000,000 supporters a subject of serious debate—is not that Communism is treachery, but that the circumstances exist in which treachery can succeed—as it has already done in Eastern Europe. M. Thorez said that invasion of France by the Red Army is pure hypothesis. So it may be. But the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Red Army a year ago was also hypothesis. It was the sort of hypothesis which, in Continental countries where the nightmare vision of Russians marching down the street is insistent and vivid, is itself enough to turn the scale in a crisis. Again it has been said that all the Russians want is peace. And again it may be true. But few Frenchmen or Italians are likely to forget that within the last decade peace was bought by many with collaboration. The threat of Com- munist treason is real, and the fear of it in France and Italy is also real. If desperate measures are taken to remove both, we ought not to be surprised.