28 APRIL 1939, Page 19


SIR,—NO Christian can fail to concur with the spirit and aim of the letter which Mr. Michael de la Bedoyere addresses to you under the heading "Christianity and War." I fear, however, that his letter does not really meet the facts of the case. His suggestion is that Great Britain and France ought to go some way towards removing a justified indignation on the part .of Germany at their virtual domination of the richest territories and markets of the globe, that they ought to concede to Germany, without war, a larger share of wealth and power. Now suppose that what Germany was demanding was liberty to extend her trade through these territories and markets, with equal facilities of access to raw materials all over the globe, there would be no great difficulty in coming to complete agreement with Germany. As a matter of fact, Germany already has that liberty, and almost equal facilities of access. Germans say that they have not completely equal facilities because they are put at a disadvantage by having to exchange German money for foreign when they buy colonial products. It would seem easy to devise a way by which this inequality would be removed, and special privileges conceded to German money in particular areas. The trouble is that the Nazis never cease rejecting with the utmost scorn the suggestion that increased economic facilities could satisfy them. All the German " claims " still unsatisfied are demands that they should be allowed to bring under their domination—not empty " territories " or impersonal "markets," but some masses of human beings who do not want to be under that domination. This is so whether the claim is for a further extension of Nazi power in Europe, or for a colonial empire overseas. The only concession on our part which the present rulers of Germany say they would think worth looking at is that in this or that other part of the globe we should thrust some masses of human beings, for whose welfare we are now responsible, under Nazi rule. There are Englishmen who say that if we shrink from doing this we are hypocritical, because German colonial rule before the War was no worse than British. The truth, I believe, is that both German rule and British rule have differed widely from one region to another, from one date to another. I do not think that British rule during the last generation has been disfigured by any atrocity so great as the German destruction of the Hereros, but it is true that a Liberal and humanitarian movement, connected especially with the name of Dernburg, had been making notable progress in the years just before the War, and that German colonial administration was showing in some regions a good deal to praise.

It is, however, irrelevant to bring in the question, what German colonial rule was like before the War. The proposi- tion now is that we should hand over backward peoples to the Nazi rulers who have shown such shocking cruelty and hatred of freedom in their own country. The elements in Germany represented by Demburg are precisely the elements which the Nazi regime has suppressed in the Germany of today. There may some day be a Germany whose co-operation in the colonial field we should rightly welcome. But, with all a Christian's desire to make concessions, it is hard to see what concessions could be made to the present rulers of Germany which would not be a singular repudiation of Christian humanity.

In a remarkable communication sent to The Times by its correspondent in Berlin (December iath, 1938) we were told how the expert for colonial racial problems in the National- Socialist Party described the principles on which the Nazi Government would administer colonies if it had them. It would not be permissible to divert natives to Christianity from their old heathen religions. Their equality with Europeans would not be preached to them. No native would be able to become a German citizen. Higher schools and universities would be closed to natives. I do not think that this statement, coming from so authoritative a quarter, has had the attention it deserves. "You have been warned! "—I am,