Poetic justice

Anthony M. Ludovici

The South African Observer 1.1, 1955, pp. 9–10

- p. 9 -
Fortunately for their leading politicians, the English have short memories and, like the former, a negligible knowledge of history. For these reasons, as Salvador de Madariaga has observed, they "are an easily led nation." Ignorance of history, however, on the part of their rulers is more dangerous than it is in them; because at high levels it may and indeed often has led to disaster.
        Hence, when well-documented treatises like Captain Russell Grenfell's UNCONDITIONAL HATRED and Francis Neilson's HATE: THE ENEMY OF PEACE reveal a permanent official of Lord Vansittart's standing and influence, as having a defective knowledge of his own and European history, the charge should not be lightly dismissed, especially as officials, equally ignorant and equally feeble in reasoning power, appear to have been fairly liberally distributed over other departments of the State.

Maclean and Burgess

        In this connexion it will be remembered that, not so long ago, the English world was startled and not a little shaken by the sudden and mysterious disappearance of two diplomats — Maclean and Burgess — of neither of whom has any trace been found to this day, but who are believed to have fled to Communist Russia
        The mystification this vanishing trick caused, especially in Government circles, was, however, in itself an indication of the short memories of all concerned; for, truth to tell, the action of these two Foreign Office deserters and of others occupying positions of trust under the British Government, is no more than might reasonably have been expected by any close observer of Officialdom's antics during the greater part of the interval between the two World Wars and shortly afterwards.
        For this interval was remarkable above all in the number of Dictatorships it produced. We had Mussolini in Italy, Primo de Rivera in Spain, Mustapha Kemal in Turkey, Pilsudski in Poland, King Alexander in Jugoslavia, the Proletariate in Russia and, ultimately, Hitler of Germany.

Opposed Communism

        Now, except for Russia, all these Dictatorships had this in common — they opposed Communism. But their uniformity in this matter unfortunately led the brighter ignoramuses of English Officialdom to try shrewdly to put two and two together — always a hazardous undertaking for the ill-informed and the illogical. For these simpletons who, like the pigeon in ALICE IN WONDER-

- p. 10 -
LAND, would be capable of placing little girls and serpents in the same genus because both ate eggs, lost no time in concluding that, since the Dictatorships — especially those of Italy and Germany — opposed Communism, and the English Right also was anti-Red, therefore Fascism, Naziism and the English Right must be the same thing.
        It mattered not in the least to these wiseacres at the head of the State that the English Right stood for a body of doctrine two and a half centuries old and that the shelves of English libraries groaned under the weight of treatises proving this to be so. And the reason why this most important fact did not matter to our rulers, was that they did not even suspect it. It was enough that the English Right had one, just one feature in common with Fascism and Nazism. This made the three wholly identical.

Leftish leanings

        Thus throughout our Government departments, there was inaugurated a policy whereby only people with distinct Leftish leanings, who by the wildest flight of the imagination of even Conservative administrators, could not be accused of RIGHT tendencies, were really safe — safe, that is to say, to hold office under a Government determined to resist the two leading Dictators; safe as Private and Under Secretaries, Commissioners, Administrators and even Secret Research workers.
        Inevitably, therefore, the rank and file of English Bureaucracy quickly began to assume a most "sinister" aspect; and, whilst traditional upholders of the English Right went about with their hearts in their mouths, dreading to be charged with feeling sympathy with the Fascists and Nazis, wherever Official jobs had to be allotted, heads of departments opened their arms to the Pinks and the Reds. Even Harold Nicolson, himself an ex-Foreign-Office Official, admits that this was so in the F.O. (THE NEW STATESMAN, 23/6/51); whilst, as we have seen from desertions more recent than these of Maclean and Burgess, the same temper prevailed in other Government departments.
        Moreover, the fact that permanent officials like Lord Vansittart and his Conservative Chief himself, must have been implicated in selecting subordinates with good honest Pink sentiments, reveals them as among the very departmental Heads whom I charge with both ignorance of history and a deplorable lack of logic.


        When, therefore, Mr. Herbert Morrison, for whom, Heaven knows, I hold no brief, declared in the Commons on July 18th, 1951, that it was absurd for "Members opposite" to try to make Party capital out of the case of the missing diplomats (Maclean and Burgess), he was entirely justified. For, he added, "Mr. Burgess was first accredited to the F.O. well before the Labour Government." This supports my present claim that Permanent Officials and their Conservative Chiefs in Government departments were favouring only Leftish candidates for official posts during the period under review. Indeed, even the War Office, of all places, appears to have been similarly disposed; for we have Lieut. General Sir Giffard Martel's testimony to the effect that "Many officers with a communist trend succeeded in gaining important posts in the Army Education Corps," and that "the War Office had sat still and watched the spread of Communism in the Army." (AN OUTSPOKEN SOLDIER, Chapter XXXII).
        Thus, when members of the English group engaged on atomic research — Porticorvo, Nunn-May, Fuchs, etc. — either absconded to Russia, or otherwise betrayed the Allied Cause, the Authorities were merely reaping where they had sown. Nor was everybody in the nation blind to what had happened for, when the German Dr. Otto John fled East, Ian Colvin, in the SUNDAY EXPRESS of July 25, 1954, declared that the blame for his flight must lie on the British Foreign Office for sponsoring him; and he concluded with this apt remark, that the Foreign Office "must now add a German Burgess and Maclean to its record."


        But does any one outside England for a moment imagine that the great majority of English people, even the educated among them, are now at least aware of the misconceptions, ignorant assumptions and faulty deductions on the part of English Officialdom, which account for the alleged "mystery" of the F.O. and Atom-Research desertions and treacheries? — Not on your life!