6 SEPTEMBER 1946, Page 1

The Problem of Germany

Nothing could be more timely than the two articles on Germany which Lord Beveridge has contributed to The Times in the past week after a brief visit to that country. A man of essentially liberal mind, with almost unique experience as an investigator into social conditions, Lord Beveridge is peculiarly qualified to diagnose such a situakion as exists in Germany and to express himself forcefully regarding it. The fundamental evil, of course, is the violation, by

Russia's decision, of the Potsdam agreement that all Germany should be treated as an economic unit. Russian influence on the country's political reconstruction has been demonstrated this week at the Saxony elections, where the Unity Party, consisting of Communists and Socialists unified (in the Russian zone alone) by pressure from the occupying Power, has secured a bare majority over the two democratic parties, on which Russia has consistently frowned. Nothing, as Lord Beveridge concedes, can at present be done about that, though it is possible that talks on Germany said to be impending between the Big Four at Paris may do something to ease an almost impossible situation. Failing that, it remains for the British zone, in conjunction it may be hoped with the American, to be made a place where Germans can have some prospect of lifting themselves from the state of misery and deprivation in which they are at present living. That involves setting some limit to the process of de- Nazification before it has stripped the zone of all the scientists essential to its rehabilitation, stopping the destruction of German ports, checking a process which involves the displacement of 70,000 or 8o,000 citizens of Hamburg in order to establish British head- quarters there, and refraining, so long as Russia herself declines to execute the Potsdam agreement, from dismantling machinery in the British zone and sending it to be re-installed in the Russian to enhance the impression of relative prosperity under Russian rule. It would be reassuring to know that the Cabinet was giving to the German situation the attention it so urgently demands.