Speech to Dartford UN Association
|Document type:||public statement|
|Venue:||Church Hall, Lowfield Street, Dartford, Kent|
|Source:||Dartford Chronicle 27 October 1950|
|Themes:||Foreign policy (general discussions)|
SPEAKERS CAME FROM EUROPE AND AMERICA
TO U.N.A. INTERNATIONAL BRAINS TRUST
OVERSEAS PROBLEMS CONCERN US ALL
Speakers from Yugo-Slavia, United States, West Indies, and Germany took part in a Brains Trust session arranged on Tuesday by Dartford United Nations Association, and held in the Church Hall, Lowfield-street.
Appeals were made for more members, it being pointed out that people could do so much for peace by joining.
The Mayor of Dartford (Alderman F. M. E. Firman) opened the trust. Tuesday was United Nations Day, he said—the fifth anniversary of the foundation of United Nations. During the years that followed, severe tests had been put upon the foundation, but it would be honest to say that it had taken the strain well. It was for the public in the future to see that U.N.A. continued to go from strength to strength to fulfil the purpose for which it was founded—that we, our children and our children's children should not face the trials and troubles such as had befallen us in the past.
Canon Elliott Mitchell, president of Dartford U.N.A., was question-master.
German Lawyer Answers
"Is there smouldering in the minds of the German people a desire for world domination, and what would be the effect if German divisions were formed to be borne by their country for [sic]
Herr Pringsheim, formerly a German lawyer, a refugee from Nazism, and now a naturalised Briton, answered this. One got some idea of what people were thinking (he said) by looking at the results of the Parliamentary elections in Western Germany. In Eastern Germany, of course, there were no free elections. He thought it extremely doubtful if there had ever been any desire for world domination in the minds of the majority of the people of Germany.
To-day about 60 per cent. of Germans belonged to one of the two main parties, Social Democrats and Christian Democrats. Both these parties were absolutely opposed to any strong foreign policy which might eventually lead to a thirst for domination. They did not want a German Army, but were prepared to take part in the defence of Europe inside a European Army.
Mr. Reece Palley, an American student now studying at the London School of Economics, answered the next question—
Man-In-The-Street In America
"What are the views of the man-in-the-street in the U.S.A. on the colossal financial burden being borne by their country for rearmament and relief in various parts of the world?
He said the States were fortunate in that they had a margin for error, a margin that other peoples did not have. In the States there was always a little bit extra land, a little bit extra in food supplies, a little bit extra active and growing industrial plant. Most of the increased industrial activity was going to come out of surplus capacity. As taxes increased, so would tax returns. The burden on the States would not be too heavy. People there would probably say, "It is a job, and whatever it is going to cost let us get on with it."
Mr. Julian Mitchell, formerly secretary of the League of Coloured People, was asked what he thought of the segregation in South Africa. He thought it contravened all ethical standards and the trust agreed with him.
Different Brands of Communism
After Mr. Timotijevic, a Yugo-Slav journalist, had attempted to answer the next question ("What—is the difference between Russian and Yugo-Slav Communism?"), Mr. Mitchell put in one of several cogent remarks he made on every question asked during the evening.
Mr. Timotijevic said the difference between the two conceptions lay in the belief by the Yugo-Slavs that it was possible to exist and develop in accordance with democracy and equality of states and nations; and that Communism could be human. Therefore the Yugo-Slavs deplored the inhumanity of the Russian experiment in Communism, which created the impression throughout the world that Communism was always as practised by the Russians and their satellites.
Many other questions were asked (some from the audience) and answered, and Miss Margaret Roberts rose to propose an omnibus vote of thanks. She said that in pre-war days it had been difficult to make people listen when one talked about Europe and America. They did not realise that overseas problems concerned them. It helped greatly to have representatives of other countries to speak and to realise how little the citizens of one nation differed, fundamentally, from the citizens of another.
Mrs. T. Dalby, hon. secretary of the Dartford branch, mentioned that Dartford U.N.A. had joined with the Workers Educational Association in a class held every Thursday at Crayford Library. These meetings afforded the most interesting two hours of the week.
A collection raised £3 11s. 10d.