5 JUNE 1964, Page 4

Saving the Queen

SARAH GAINHAM writes from Bonn:

The point of the State Visit of the Queen to Bonn is the same as that of the Franco-German Treaty of friendship. There comes a point in any reconciliation when what still does not com- pletely exist—confidence—has to be given a shot in the arm to encourage its growth. We shall sign no treaties, there will be no formulated arrangement for consultation between Bonn and Westminster and the great advantage the Ger- mans will get from friendship with the British will be the growth of informal discussion, which is already more advanced than it appears.

This informality is imposed by practical con-

siderations and in some ways is to. Britain's dis- advantage, but it is fortunate at least that it is the kind of disadvantage Which by our group temperament we are eminently fitted to use to its limits. The Germans suffer from an under- development of their intuitive faculties in politics, both at home and abroad; they wish to have everything set down in paragraphs, organised, fixed and clear. Informality, shaking hands instead of writing contracts, can have none but good effects for them.

This, however, supposes two factors in the future relations of Britain and Germany. Our friendship must be as clearly necessary to Germany as hers is to us, which is not at this moment the case. And the personal quality of diplomats and soldiers representing England in this country must continue at its present high standard,' and where there is a lack it must be replaced with a modern, unprejudiced person- ality. This is essential, for our relations with Germany have to be extremely personal.

Two areas in which we can at once increase trade and influence with Germany are smaller consumer goods, and aid to the underdeveloped countries. There is a large market in Germany for semi-luxury goods of all kinds and the quality of many British products is their own advertisement—provided the instructions for use are always in German while labels and names remain, for snobbish reasons, in the original language. Increased co-operation in Africa be- tween the two countries is to everyone's advan- tage, and those who fear loss of British influence are living in the past. To nationalist Africans we are all white and European.

Two negative matters to prelude the State Visit might be to change the somewhat mendi- cant style in which we ask for German aid with the Rhine Army expenditure and, more difficult, to drop for good our condescension in personal conversation which is, in fact, simply rudeness.

Such practical considerations are not a misuse of the Monarchy. The Queen is an intensely political fact abroad—the Queen is Britain. She will get an enthusiastic and popular welcome in Germany and, since she does not concern herself directly with policy, she is free to visit the great cities which, are Germany and stay only as long as is needful in Bonn. In this context Munich, Stuttgart, Essen and Hanover—especially the last —are far more important than Bonn. And the Queen should visit Berlin; for with Berlin, whether we like it or not, we all stand or fall.