20 SEPTEMBER 1940, Page 11


[In view of the paper shortage it is essential that letters on these pages should be brief. We are anxious not to reduce the number of letters, but unless they are shorter they must be fewer. Writers are urged to study the art of compression.—Ed., 4‘ The Spectator "]


SIR,—Some Englishmen were never hoodwinked by Hitler and Mussolini, they knew too well what those gentlemen were doing:

and none knew better than those who took part in the effort to help to re-establish the victims of their oppression. It needed nu special gift of prophecy to realise that a policy of appeasement would fail,

only personal knowledge of what was being done in Germany and Italy. But a ruling clique in Britain, bamboozled by the claims of

Fascism and National Socialism to be the Saviours of Europe from Bolshevism, and blind to the fundamental similarity of those creeds, pursued the policy of hesitation which has landed us in this mess.

These are the same people who, in May, were seized with the panic

by which so many of. our warmest friends, and the bitterest enemies of our enemies, have been shut up. That wide internment was

necessary is admitted: but that no advice was taken from responsible people who knew which of the aliens were our friends is in keeping with the previous inability to see who were our enemies.

Among the alien refugees now in England many are anxious to join our fighting services: not in an inferior status but as active fighters. In September, 1938, one of these came to me to know how he could join the Royal Artillery, in the war which then seemed imminent: another wanted to join the R.A.F. The first was interned in May and has just been released : it is quite like paradise, he writes me—" and now how can I join the Artillery? " The second went to a job in Australia last summer: he tells me that he has tried to get into the R.A.A.F. as gunner or observer, but must wait till he is naturalised. A third, also recently released from internment, came to me recently to urge how much good it would do if he and his friends could be allowed to fight. It certainly would. They have an account to settle with Hitler, like the Polish squadron in the R.A.F. of which we have heard recently. Why on earth do we not accept their service? Many of us (of all political parties, or none) have no confidence at all in those who were deceived by Hitler and Mussolini for so long. The present treatment of many of the bitterest enemies of the dictators is too closely in keeping with previous efforts not to hurt those gentle- men's feelings. Now what is needed is not merely an improvement in internment camps, or a widening of the categories to be released, but a total change of -policy towards those whose one desire is to help in defeating our common enemies. Until quite recently we refused the help of American volunteers unless they swore allegiance to H.M. the King. That stupidity is now gone. How long will this other stupidity remain?—Yours faithfully, A. V. HILL. House of Commons.