28 JUNE 1940, Page 12


Sm,—The offer of Union to France came too late for adequate com- ment in your last issue. Already it has faded into the background. I should like, however, to make one point.

Whatever the motives for the offer, it is quite clear now that only through a constitutional union with common citizenship and a written constitution can there be any complete certainty of common action and mutual security in the face of all dangers. Federal Union has often been criticised as being a paper plan. The "realists" have argued that instead of worrying about common government we must build up joint administrative institutions ; in fact, that we must do anything but the one sensible thing which would have prevented the present disaster.

This offer of Union has now made it quite clear that no amount of interlocking administrative machinery is sufficient. Common citizen- ship and a common set of laws and a common Legislature are essential. Every nation in Europe has now learned that promises between Governments, however solemnly undertaken and pompously worded and however much embellished with interlocking administra- tive machinery, are worth nothing if the separate Governments still have the power and the constitutional right to take separate decisions. It has to be recalled that the Solemn Declaration of the Supreme War Council on March 28th promised not only no separate peace, but also community of action after the war was over. Federal Union News at that time pointed out the dangers in that Solemn Declaration. The leading article in The Times, commenting on that Declaration suggested that it was the British Government which had persuaded the French not to press for a formally constituted Union. If The Times was right, then the British Government were not slow to learn their lesson. Unfortunately, they learned it too late. Now we have got to see to it that when the Peace Treaty comes to be made this lesson is not forgotten and we are not put off by any pettifogging scheme providing for machinery, but for no centre of government.— Yours faithfully,