Publication: The Sunday Times

Full Citation

  • Title The Potsdam Conference
  • Publication Title The Sunday Times
  • Collection The Sunday Times Digital Archive, 1822-2006
  • Date Sunday,  July 15, 1945
  • Issue Number 6379
  • Page Number 4
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Times Newspapers Limited
  • Copyright Statement © Times Newspapers Limited.
THE POTSDAM CONFERENCE TEN weeks after the end of the war in Germany, " the Big Three " are meet - ing at Potsdam—not the same Three, alas ; and, competent as Mr. Truman is, Mr. Roosevelt will be sorely missed. Mr. Churchill and Marshal Stalin carry for - ward the spirit and practice of the previous meetings which were so potent in the direction of war. Though the tasks of to - day and to-morrow are no. less urgent and far more difficult, they need not discourage us if only the unity that achieved victory in war is maintained till we have solved the immense problems of peace. In the short time over which the conference will extend it can do little more than agree on the broad outlines of policy. We hope such agreements will signify real harmony of purpose and willing collaboration in action; and that the official record of the proceed - ings will leave no room for doubt as to what is done. Past experience shows the import - ance of this. We hope, further, that the official report of the Conference will include a plain state - ment of how Germany is to be dealt with during the next phase of military occupa - tion . In general, policy should be the same in the East and in the West. We say in general because in regions administered by Russians, say, as compared with those administered ¦ by British, American or French, there must be great differences of detail. In principle no glaring contrasts should be permitted. It, would be an evil day on which rival ideologies were estab - lished , or officially recognised, on either side a line drawn, north to south, through central Europe. One safeguard against that Is publicity. Now the fighting is over, all the occupied countries should be freely open to travellers as soon as transport is available. No area should be closed to properly accredited journalists. Only so can false rumour be killed and a healthy public opinion play upon problems which are very dangerous if allowed to fester. It is possible, indeed it seems likely, that not politics but the most elementary of human needs—food and clothing—may soon demand first attention. Our sympathies go out to the occupied countries. They deserve and ought to be given all possible help, and they have prior claims: But, by their own actions, the Allies have assumed tremendous responsibilities in Germany. There is no longer a German Government. It is vain to talk of disciplining 70,000,000 people, of " re-educating " them, of turning them away from evil counsellors, unless some administration is set up and authorised to deal with the common needs of crowded city populations. If this is neglected there may be pestilences that respect '-no frontiers , and a. chaos which occupying armies are not equipped to fight . We cannot afford to turn away from this grim prospect. Some efficient local govern - ment Js essential both to the success ^ of the Allied occupation and to the political alms on which rest our hopes of an enduring peace.