Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Facing facts in Formosa (1953)

From the April 1953 issue of the Socialist Standard

A new war scare is going the rounds. General Eisenhower, in his State of the Union announcement, says that the American fleet would no longer be used to prevent raids by the Nationalist Chinese against the Chinese mainland. Such a decision would be in the fashion these days—of a big power using a small one as a cat’s paw. This contemplated extension of the war in Korea to the great Asian mainland, has aroused the fear that this may be a step towards World War III.

Formosa was part of the Chinese Empire for 400 years from the time of Kublai Khan until European traders arrived on the scene, since when it has been a bone of contention. The Dutch who occupied the tip in 1624 were ousted by the Spaniards. The Dutch retook the island after defeating the Spaniards. A Chinese force from the mainland defeated the Dutch and took possession in 1662. Then came the Japanese in 1895 who took six years to subdue the islanders. After the conclusion of World War II, the Chinese Nationalists then in power in China, took possession in 1945. The Communists on the island revolted in 1947 but the attempt was put down with great severity.

Immediately after the defeat of Japan, the U.S.A. backed Chiang Kai-Shek in the civil war against the Communists. American post-war financial backing from 1945 until 1949 amounts to U.S. $3,875 million. ("China Stands Up” by R. K. Karanji). This turned out to be a bad investment for the American Capitalist class because the Nationalist military machine lost the war, and took refuge in the Island of Formosa where they have since remained as a quisling government, lavishly supported by the U.S.

The British Government considers that support to Chiang Kai-Shek is throwing good money after bad, and with their long and intimate experience in China were amused at the American policy of pouring money into Chiang Kai-Shek’s coffers. Much of this money is lost in graft and most of the arms have found their way into the hands of the opposing Communist side.

American Strategy
Formosa is an island cross-roads, halfway between Shanghai and Hongkong, and halfway between Tokyo and Saigon, so that control of the island by the Chinese Nationalists means that they (on behalf of their mentors) appear to control these routes. Another aspect of the island’s strategic position is that along with Japan and the Philippines it acts as a bastion of American defence, or as a spring-board in case of invasion to the Asian mainland.

Another use of Formosa to the U.S.A. is that so long as control is invested in the Chiang Kai-Shek clique, there is always the inherent danger of invasion of the mainland, and this risk keeps large bodies of Chinese troops tied down—soldiers who would otherwise be available for service against the Allies in Korea.

But viewed from Peking, the American threat may take on a different aspect—it may appear as a sign of weakness. The Chinese may think that after two and a half years of fighting, the armies of the West can no longer see hope of victory arising from action on the battlefield, and are therefore casting about for some other means.

The Clash Between British and American Interests
Britain and the U.S.A. in the Far East have been traditionally hostile to one another—the friction arising over sharing the spoils from the China trade. Britain, the first on the scene, got the lion’s share—an untenable state of affairs for American interests.

The temptation to grasp this juicy plum has tantalised the U.S. even more since the atrophy of British power and the rise of American power in the “free” world.

The lusty adolescent U.S. capitalist power is swashbuckling with a full purse in the Far East, with the cynical, older and more experienced Chinese and British rulers watching for the main chance.

A blockade would destroy the prosperity of the British Crown Colony of Hongkong—before the Korean War, China consistently accounted for over one-third of Hongkong’s total trade, and moreover, British ships are the leading cargo-carriers on the Hongkong/Shanghai route. Furthermore, the British presumably still remember the consequences of their aggressive action against China in the 1st Opium War of 1839/1844, which resulted in driving China into closer diplomatic and economic relations with Russia.

If China were Blockaded
A study of the situation would not be complete without estimating the probable effects of blockading the China coast. On the credit side for America capitalism firstly, the previously stated tying-down of Chinese forces to counteract the possibility of Nationalist landings on the mainland. Secondly, to the extent that a blockade was effective, it would mean that fewer supplies, directly or indirectly useful in prosecuting the war in Korea, would be received by China—the real enemy of America on the Korean peninsular. Thirdly, the loss of trade that would undoubtedly result from a blockade might increase to danger-point the opposition to the present Chinese government, and thus induce them to sue for peace terms in Korea to the advantage of American imperialism.

Against the above factors, we must remember that the risk of offensive action by Chiang Kai-Shek on the mainland, has in fact already tied down a million Chinese troops, and that possibly the Chinese Government would not need to increase this number.

As to the cutting down of supplies—the Chinese Government has, since its inception in 1949, pursued a policy of economic self-sufficiency, coupled with development of trade with Russia and with other East European countries. Thus the Chinese, never a seafaring race, have of recent years become even less dependent on sea routes. The Financial Times (11-2-53) states that:—
"In 1950 Chinese trade with other Communist countries accounted for 26 per cent. of her total trade. By 1951, according to Chinese sources, the percentage had risen to 61 per cent; and in 1952 the figure is expected to be .over 70 per cent.

Trade between China and the United States has almost ceased. There have been no shipments of U.S. goods to China since 1950 and licences for U.S. imports from China are now restricted to cases where the refusal to grant a licence would cause severe distress to U.S. importers.

The general conclusion which emerges is that China has little to offer of which the world cannot secure adequate supplies elsewhere, with the possible exception of bristle and tung oil, and that China needs little, except rubber, which she cannot buy from behind the Iron Curtain.”
Against the third point—of exciting internal opposition, it may be doubted whether there is any possibility of effective opposition from the capitalists in China.

For the purposes of this review, we are assuming that a blockade by Chinese Nationalist forces, even with the assistance of the U.S. 7th Fleet, will be efficient, but this is most unlikely. The corruption, and consequent ineffectiveness, of the Chiang Kai-Shek clique has been a major scandal even in the Orient (where venality is taken almost for granted). Moreover, smuggling is big business in China and has been practised successfully for years in opposition to an efficient administration. It would be surprising indeed if a blockade from Formosa brought sea-going traffic to a standstill.

In considering the possibility of a successful invasion of the mainland, it may be useful to recall the behaviour of Nationalist troops in contact with the Red Army during the civil war which ended in 1949; these peasant troops, favouring the Communists Party’s Land Reform programme, had no stomach for fighting and were glad to surrender and get the opportunity of returning to their homes. There seems to be no reason why this could not happen again.

Is Eisenhower Bluffing ?
We must not forget that Eisenhower has only just been elected President of the U.S.A., and his sponsors, the Republican Party, in their first success in this direction for many years, are much concerned in maintaining the interest of the electors. General Eisenhower, as a soldier, is expected to talk tough, and anyway, tough talk costs nothing.

But whatever the next move by the ruling class in the dangerous game of power politics, in the final analysis it is the workers who make the armaments and fight the wars for the protection of their masters’ interests and their acquiescence is necessary for the carrying out of policies. At the present time, for instance, the workers may be sufficiently fed-up with war and war conditions to make themselves heard in opposition to a government extending a local war into a world war.
Frank Offord

Editorial: The War of the Petrol Pump (1953)

Editorial from the April 1953 issue of the Socialist Standard

While governments and the big oil combines jostle for control of the oil resources of the world a second front has been opened up on the British home market With the ending of war-time controls the companies were allowed on 1st February of this year to resume the pre-war practice of selling their own branded high grade motor spirit alongside the continued sale of the lower-grade and cheaper “pool ” petrol.

They had been preparing for this revival of competition for many months, partly by extensive advertising and partly by getting garage owners to enter agreements binding them to sell only certain brands.

Before the war the petrol companies spent about £600,000 a year on newspaper advertising. In 1951 the amount was £641,500 but in 1952 it rose to nearly £1,000,000 (Manchester Guardian 31 January, 1953).

On the control of garages the Financial Editor of the Manchester Guardian writes:—
“For at least two years the petrol companies have been making their preparations. More and more garages have made exclusive arrangements with one or other of the main petrol companies. Garages have been rebuilt and repainted, in return for which they have agreed to sell one company’s petrol only. Nearly three-quarters of the country’s pumps are now said to be tied in this way.”
The motoring correspondent of the Daily Telegraph (11/3/53) puts the proportion of “tied” garages as high as 90 per cent.

In some cases the “tied” garage undertakes to sell only one company's petrol, but as Shell and Anglo- Iranian have a joint selling arrangement (Shell-Mex and B.P.) their agreements tie the garage to supplies from Shell or Anglo-Iranian refineries (Economist, January, 1953).

One by-product of the struggle is that in order to protect their “tied” garages, some of the companies are reported to be refusing supplies of petrol to independent garages in the same district.

In addition to advertising, the companies are also wooing trade with “ gifts." Miss Burton, M.P., informed the Minister of Fuel and Power on 9 February that Shell are giving away a brush and duster “with a retail value of at least 5/-”; countered by the Regent Company's presentation of jigsaw puzzles and propelling pencils.

The war also extends to lubricating oils and the Vigzol Company which specialises in supplying farms complained that “some national oil companies . . . are offering ludicrous enticements to break up strong links we have developed with dealers for 30 years." The head of the firm states that the petrol companies are giving agricultural engineers commissions of up to £5 a barrel on lubricating oil to get business (Daily Express, 22/11/52).

A writer in the Sunday Dispatch (18/1/53) says that altogether the battle for the petrol market has cost the companies several million pounds already.

Although the companies are competing for the general market they are still (or were until last year) submitting identical tenders for sales to the government.

The four largest competitors (in addition to some smaller ones) are Shell, Anglo-Iranian, Esso and Regent. Anglo-Iranian has government nominees on its board and the government owns a large shareholding. Shell is linked with Royal Dutch and they, like Anglo-Iranian, control oil concerns in many parts of the world. Among the Royal Dutch-Shell subsidiaries is a large concern operating in the U.S.A.

Esso is a subsidiary of the American Standard Oil but sells motor spirit refined in this country. Regent sells imported petrol from refineries abroad operated by Trinidad leaseholds. The National Benzole Co.'s products are a mixture of petrol with benzole, the latter derived from coal.

The general background of the petrol war is of course the enormous development since the end of the war of the oilfields, refineries and oil tanker fleets, so that although world consumption has increased fast there have been several scares in the past seven years that production would overstep demand. It has been noted with concern that America, which produces and consumes much more than the rest of the world together, increased its consumption in 1952 by only 3%, compared with 10% the year before, and in the meantime more and more refining capacity is coming into production.

In Britain oil refining capacity in 1945 was only 2,500,000 tons of crude oil a year. It is now over 20 million tons and when work is completed on refineries now building it will be over 30 million tons. (“The World Oil Industry." Financial Times Supplement, 2 February, 1953).

What this development will involve can be seen from the fact that in 1945 three-quarters of Britain's refined oil was imported. Now it is an export, and the Minister of Fuel states that in 1953 it is expected to exceed in value the export of coal. When the full refinery programme is completed there will be an urgent need to find world markets for the great quantity being produced.

The particular background of the "branded petrol" war is the "catalytic cracking" plants which produce the high-grade motor spirit. The six plants built or building will have cost £20,000,000 by the time they are all in operation. But here, according to the Financial Times (31 January, 1953) the real problem arises. By mid-1953 their output capacity will be about 54 million tons, but even the present output of 3½ million tons “should be ample” for the existing demand for high- grade petrols.
"Thus, assuming that the refineries settle down to a rate of operation of about 75 per cent. to 80 per cent. of capacity, the potential volume of supplies of British refined premier grades is more than adequate."
The problem then is for the companies to expand the sales of the high-grades by persuading the commercial users of motor transport that they, as well as the private motorist, should use the higher-priced, “premier” grades.
"Indeed it seems that unless the demand for premier grades expands considerably compared with pre-war the oil industry will find it hard to justify the whole of its investment of £20 million in the post-war catalytic crackers."
The Financial Times concludes that the companies will “only obtain the full return on the large amount of capital invested in the catalytic crackers” if they succeed in getting the commercial motor users to change over to the costlier petrols.

What adds fierceness to the conflict is that American controlled Esso, with its giant refinery at Fawley (the largest in Britain), is challenging the other large companies. Before the war Esso had only a small share of the British market and is fighting to enlarge it in order to find a market for the output of Fawley. The Cleveland Petroleum Co. also sells petrol bought from Fawley.

The outcome of the battle cannot yet be known. When it is there will be rich prizes for the victors and falling profits for the losers—and nothing for the working class either way.

The Passing Show: Ready-made argument (1953)

The Passing Show Column from the April 1953 issue of the Socialist Standard

Ready-made argument

It has been remarked before that nationalisation does nothing to change the class position of the workers in society, gives the workers no control over or interest in their industry, and leaves unchanged the basic condition of capitalist society—the divorce of the workers from the ownership of the means of production. Not only this; nationalisation provides a ready-made argument for the capitalists and their newspapers, a potent weapon in the continuous propaganda fight against the interests of the workers. It can now be claimed that since the workers “wanted nationalisation," they should tamely accept their conditions, abandon their most powerful means of defence in the industrial field, the strike, and submit without demur to the dictates of the new State-appointed bosses.

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Loss to the Commercial Community

This argument is used despite the fact that there is less and less concealment of the part nationalised industries are playing. Their first duty is that placed upon them in the Acts of Parliament setting them up—to make a profit, and pay interest to the "ex"-shareholders. Their second is to provide an efficient service for the other industries, still under the control of private capitalists, which depend upon them. For example, nationalised transport. In the debate in the Lords on February 23rd on the Government’s proposals to denationalise road transport, speakers on both sides took as their criterion whether or not these proposals would benefit the capitalists who used the road transport services. For the Opposition, Lord Lucas said:
“If the Government proceeded with the proposals outlined in the Bill for selling the assets by public auction without a reserve the loss to the taxpayers would be at least £50m., and the loss to industry and to the commercial community would be absolutely immeasurable." 
On the Conservative side, Lord Gifford said that the “denationalisation of road transport would be justified if it gave the trader a better service."

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Laying it on

What is one to say of those Labour leaders who, in face of the clear evidence to the contrary, still maintain that nationalisation is Socialism? But some Labour leaders go further. Not content with having given, by their measures of nationalisation, an excellent argument against the workers in the nationalised industries to the newspapers which openly support the capitalists, they now turn round on the workers and use that very same argument themselves. One of these is Ness Edwards. Having taken a leading share in forging this stick to beat the workers, he now takes a turn in laying it on.

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The Folly of Ness Edwards

Mr. Edwards took it on himself to write an article in the Daily Herald on February 19th which he called “The Folly of the Few"; but he only succeeded in revealing his own foolishness. There is so much nonsense packed into this short article that we shall have to confine ourselves to a few of his more erratic statements.
“We nationalised the mines, the railways, and other industries, not only to get more efficiency and remove class injustice—but also to give men and women the chance to live fuller lives.”
Since Mr. Edwards gives the “ living of fuller lives" and “ the removal of class injustice ” merely as the purposes, not the results, of nationalisation, we can say little more. Certainly it would be wildly inaccurate to allege that nationalisation, for instance of the coal mines, had given the chance of a fuller life to anyone except those like Lord Hyndley, who was able to widen his field of activities from running the Powell Duffryn collieries in South Wales to lording it over the entire British coal industry.
“We who believe in Socialism want to make more socialists. But our efforts are hampered by a small minority who have benefited by the first Socialist efforts and behave with an arrogant indifference to the well-being of the many.”
Your support of nationalisation, Mr. Edwards, makes nonsense of your claim to believe in Socialism. The first is merely another term for state-capitalism, and no one can support both capitalism and Socialism. But substituting “labourite" for “Socialist," the rest of this quotation looks promising. For there is certainly a “small minority" which fits this description—the shareholders. Have they benefited from nationalisation? They have, and for these reasons. The coal industry at the end of the war was operating with equipment which was out of date years before. A vast programme of capital re-equipment, which would involve the ploughing back of profit for years ahead, was necessary if the industry was ever to become profitable again. From this grim prospect the shareholders were saved, in the nick of time, by the timely action of the Labour Government in nationalising the industry. From the day the State took over the coal mines, come rain or shine, boom or slump, strike or lock-out, the shareholders could count on their £14 million of interest each year as confidently as they could upon the sun each morning. So we know whom Mr. Edwards is referring to here.

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Or do we? Reading on, we find Mr. Edwards actually had in mind “unofficial strikers," those workers who still have the nerve to try and improve their conditions of work by using the strike weapon. But these workers, after all, are only withholding their labour-power—and property in this is the only property which capitalist society leaves them. Are wage-slaves in the state-capitalist industries to be so brow-beaten that they are to be denied even their last right of refusing for a week or two to apply their labour-power to their masters' instruments of production? It seems that if Mr. Edwards had his way, the answer would be Yes. He says: “These unofficial minority activities are reactionary and counter-revoluntionary.” Counter-revolutionary! Mr. Edwards is obviously supposing that a revolution has taken place. If it has, it must be the first revolution in history which is not visible to the naked eye.

Let us leave Mr. Edwards and his article there, as a warning of the ridiculous extremes to which the nationalisation fallacy can lead reformers.

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Honesty and realism

Another labour leader who is worried that the workers may be expecting too much from the next Labour Government (though the experience of the last one should have ended permanently all such extravagant hope) is Mr. Gaitskell. Writing about the next election (Reynolds News, 15-2-53) he heads his remarks “Honesty and realism should be the keynote." We can grant Mr. Gaitskell that honesty at election times would come as a welcome change. But his other requirement, realism, sounds ominous; for this is a word much in use among politicians when they wish to prepare their audiences for further sacrifices and belt-tightening. And we are not disappointed. Mr. Gaitskell outlines his plans for “more production" and then says “But it does take time and it probably means that to start with there will be less rather than more to consume." Apart from the phrase “to start with," we couldn't agree more. Feeling that his programme so far will do little to attract voters, Mr. Gaitskell says that the Labour Party “must make a further attack on inequality in education and the concentration of property in too few hands." A further attack! We are still waiting for the first attack on “the concentration of property in too few hands undoubtedly it didn’t take place, although it was promised, in the Labour Government's last term in office. How Mr. Gaitskell reconciles his implication that it did take place with the heading of his article, we leave to him.

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On behalf of . . . 

Mr. Tom O'Brien, the President of the General Council of the T.U.C., got into trouble the other day for sending a telegram to Mr. Churchill on the eve of his visit to the United States. The message began “You carry with you the good will of the workers of Britain and the Commonwealth in your courageous mission to the United States tomorrow." This message hadn't been authorised by “the workers of Britain " and certainly not by those of “the Commonwealth," and a number of those on whose behalf Mr. O'Brien claimed to speak pointed this out to him with some force. But the habit of claiming vast authority for one's statements is not confined to Mr. O'Brien. The heads of the Communist Party or of the C.P. front organisations frequently issue grandiloquent statements “on behalf of the workers of Great Britain " or “ the women of Britain" or “the democratic youth of Western Europe." Among others who have recently indulged in these wide unauthorised statements is General Franco, who in his New Year's Message said he was “speaking as the father or guardian of the great family of Spaniards "—though “guardian ” here may be a mistranslation for the far more appropriate word “warder." Again, on March 2nd Chief Simeon Kioko of the Kamba tribe in Kenya repudiated Mau Mau, and claimed to be speaking “on behalf of 400,000 Wakamba." In South Africa, the Governor-General, speaking on January 23rd, said “This year will see the Coronation of her Majesty the Queen. My ministers, as do the people of the Union, pray that her Majesty may have a long, blessed and peaceful reign." Who gave the Governor-General the authority to say this? It seems particularly inappropriate, in that “ the people of the Union" include a million Afrikaaners, many of whom are fanatical Republicans.

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Unhappy workpeople

But one of the most fantastic claims made recently was in connection with the return of Alfred Krupp to much of his industrial empire, plus the fortune which will be his when he sells, compulsorily, his interests in coal and steel; the latter are being turned over to a holding company with a capital of a hundred million marks. Incidentally, Herr Krupp has given an undertaking to keep out of coal and steel; but after the expiry of Allied High Commission Law 27 in a few years' time this promise will not be legally enforceable. The massed legal experts of die Allied High Commission and the German Government have found themselves unable to think of any formula which could give legal force to this undertaking; which is another instance of the tenderness with which the perpetrators of the really large crimes are treated. (Krupp was convicted in 1948 of war-crimes on a grand scale, and was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment plus confiscation of all his property; much of the first part, and all the second part, of this sentence was remitted in 1951 by Mr. McCloy, then United States High Commissioner in Germany.) Last August, however, when the details of Krupp’s return to his industrial empire were not yet settled, Dr. Maschke, the concern's chief legal adviser, said (Sunday Express, 17-8-52): “This is a family enterprise. We are not happy—thousands of the workpeople are not happy—to see him left in the background.

So if you hear sounds of jubilation coming from the general direction of Germany, you know what it is What you hear is the heartfelt cries of joy uttered by the work people of the Rhineland as the word goes round that the boss is back.

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Little-known pastimes: Money rolling

The Chancery Division has been trying to unravel the tangles in the will of Mr. Bolton Joberns, a brick manufacturer who died three years ago. Not the least puzzling part is the allegation in one codicil that the “so-called poor” were now “rolling in money” On the face of it, it would seem impossible to roll with any degree of comfort in a weekly wage of five or seven pounds; though one is reluctant to dissent from the opinion of one who was so clearly an expert in the little-known sport of money-rolling as Mr. Joberns, who left more than £200,000. But examine the phrase “the so-called poor.” Who are the so-called poor nowadays? Not the real poor; both the Tories and the Labourites, for their own reasons, assert that poverty has been abolished. The term “poor” is in these days reserved exclusively for the upper class, as in the phrases “the new poor” and “the tax-ridden industrialist." From a careful reading of the newspapers one can only draw the conclusion that in these enlightened times one must have at least £50 a week after tax before one can call oneself poor; poverty is reduced as the incomes get less, and anyone receiving less than £10 a week is supposed in the neighbourhood of Fleet Street to be living on the fat of the land. It is those people, then, who used to be called rich but are now the “so-called poor,” that Mr. Joberns must have been referring to; and with his opinion that these “so-called poor ” are now “rolling in money” we shouldn’t like to disagree.
Alwyn Edgar

The United Nations and Power Politics (1953)

Book Review from the April 1953 issue of the Socialist Standard

Towards the end of the last war when the United Nations Organisation first hit the headlines, many war-weary workers turned hopeful eyes towards this colossus which bestrode the world and was pledged to many high ideals, including the termination of all war. The older generation of workers recalled the League of Nations, its lofty aims and resolutions, puny performance and ignominious collapse. U.N.O., however, seemed a more promising infant than the.League; the size and sweep of its conception to include all nations, large and small in a combined bid for “Peace” seemed to thousands of workers a power for good. It developed with much publicity and hatched out an awe inspiring number of off-spring in the shape of various; Councils, Committees and Associations: Specialised Agencies were linked to it on a basis of mutual help: International bodies worked in conjunction with it. The Secretariat alone (known as the World Civil Service) employs 3,000 office workers.

The Charter (1945) setting forth the aims of the organisation is over-flowing with resolutions for international peace and security, friendly relations among nations, and international co-operation in solving international problems. (Article 1.) In addition to this somewhat long-winded Charter, a “Declaration of human rights ” was published in December, 1948, by tile U.N. Association at Paris.

Sad to relate, since the inception of this vast and complicated body with its avowed intention of establishing peace, wars of varying degrees and intensity have been and still are, raging. The cumbersome machinery of U.N.O., dodders and creaks along to the sound of gunfire in sundry parts of the globe. The troops in S. Korea fight under the title of U.N. Forces. This and the state of tension between the Western Bloc and U.S.S.R. makes mock of the high-sounding hypocritical phrases of the Charter.

The book now under review “The United Nations and Power Politics” is by John Maclaurin, publishers George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., London, 1951. It is a large book (450 pages) and deals comprehensively
not only with the functioning of U.N.O., but gives detailed and graphic accounts of various problems which have come before the Organisation, some dealt with successfully according to its lights, but in most cases a dismal record of outright failure. We read of the deeply rooted animosities between the delegates of the great powers; their hypocrisy, and “holier than thou” attitude towards each other; the vetos. adjournments, juggling for advantage; the strange bedfellows who come together when policy dictates and when there is an axe to grind. Maclaurin says that many delegates show little respect for the purposes of U.N.O., by their verbal sparring, sarcasm and scoring off each other. Tribute is paid to much good work done by the supplementary organisations such as the Food and Agricultural Organisation, World Health Organisation and many others.

The delegates of the smaller nations show up in a more favourable light, probably because they have not such a large stake in world affairs. In 1949 at the 4th Session of the General Assembly a feeling of revolt developed among the delegates of the smaller powers over the worsening relations between U.S., U.K., and Russia. The Syrian delegate, Mr. El Khouri, denounced the cold war in biting terms and suggested that the small nations should get together and form a third camp, thus holding the balance in their hands.

“When questions arise that do not closely touch the political and economic objectives of a government it will turn them over to a delegate whose heart is in the question, contenting itself with very general instructions and leaving the delegate a large measure of freedom.” It is repeatedly demonstrated that the nations work together amicably on humanitarian and relief matters but come to grief over power politics. Regarding U.N.R.R.A. (the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) Maclaurin says there was good co-operation between the governments and technicians, so long as political and “grab” motives were absent.

On 5th April, 1949, the General Assembly of U.N.O. opened its session in New York one day after the Atlantic pact was signed, a pact which splits the world into two armed camps and makes nonsense of the Organisation’s undertaking that all nations shall combine to ensure peace. Maclaurin quotes the American Daily News of 4-4-49. “With the adoption of the North Atlantic Pact, the last reason for the United Nations’ existence will vanish ... The U.S. State Department is bellowing that the pact is strictly within the U.N. framework and will strengthen that organisation. The U.S.S.R. is staying in the U.N.O. instead of hauling out and urging a painless end to the U.N’s miserable existence.”

Many of the disputes brought before the Security Council, such as Israel and Indonesia, dragged on week, in and week out while fighting raged, in spite of “ resolutions ” calling on the combatants to cease fire.

In his concluding chapters, the author reviews the world position and the “ drift to war.” Regarding the Western Bloc’s design to “contain Russian expansion,” he says, “ With the stock-pile of atom bombs, the huge navy, the fleets of bombers, the air bases ringing the U.S.S.R., the 500 odd military bases of all sorts on the territories of other people, the military alliances, inter alia closing the Baltic and Mediterranean, it is certainly difficult to distinguish containing Russia from expanding American military dominance . . . American military, political and economic might has expanded over the earth to an extent hitherto unknown in history.”

He touches on the “balance of power” doctrine which, he says, is inevitably interpreted by its advocates as “balance in my favour... and has led in the past is leading in the present and will lead in the future to the armaments race and the scramble for political supremacy . . . and the outcome is war.”

The fostering of nationalism inflames nations against one another. Maclaurin says “There is a magic phrase that serves our governments as armour served the Knights of old, both for armaments and defence. The phrase is National interests.”

He writes of the “little man’s revolt” and says the world’s unease stems from two sources: “The revolt of the oppressed and the economic and political rivalries of the direct and indirect rulers of nation states.” Here we part company finally with the author for he suggests that the machinery of U.N.O. is suitable for world government, the only way out of the present impasse. This is anticlimax with a vengeance after reading bow ineffective and restricted the machinery is, and how it can be, and is, perverted in pursuit of cold war aims. Even if U.N.O. were a united world organisation and able to take over world government, the two conflicts would still remain, i.e., enmity between capitalist groups, and enmity between the “ haves ” and “ have nots.” If the latter conflict were resolved by an enlightened working class movement establishing socialism, the former conflict would automatically cease to exist, and wars would be a thing of the past.

In conclusion we may say, the author has a lively style of writing which helps us over some of the dull patches, he weighs the motives of the great powers and slates them all impartially. (It is difficult to detect but there is an impression of a very slight bias in favour of U.S.S.R.) His remarks are uncompromising and trenchant and he obviously has no delusions regarding the objectives of the great powers in the game of power politics.
F. M. Robins