1 OCTOBER 1948, Page 2

Common Sense on Western Union

Mr. Menzies had some thoroughly apt and sensible comments to make on western union and federation when he spoke at an Empire rally on Tuesday. The extreme partisans of federalism and of the Empire have recently been so exclusive in the pursuit of their ideals that they have sometimes created the impression that western Europe and the Commonwealth are irreconcilable concepts. Mr. Menzies quite rightly disposed of this dilemma as " utterly unreal." He believed that a prosperous and united Empire would welcome a prosperous and united Europe, and that the best way to achieve the latter is for the European Powers to get to work on practical questions such as shipping, trade, currency and defence. These are the lines on which the Government is proceeding. Grandiose plans for common citizenship and federal constitutions are, as Mr. Menzies said, " hopelessly impracticable." Indeed, the harm which theorising of this sort can do is well brought out in the reiteration by Senator Fulbright that Britain is " dragging her feet " over western union. It must be insisted in all courtesy that this is not America's business. Europe has punctually fulfilled all the economic conditions attached to the E.R.P. Her political arrangements are her own affair. Mr. Menzies' common-sense comments, coming from a Dominion spokesman, may receive more attention than Mr. Bevin's equally per- tinent comments on the same subject. Mr. Menzies, it is true, is leader of the Australian Opposition, but it will be surprising if the spokesmen of the Australian and other Dominion Governments do not show that they are thinking along the same constructive lines when they meet in London this month.