Courtesy Reuters

Bevin and His Critics

IT IS often said by extreme left-wing critics that the British Labor Government is pursuing a Socialist policy at home and a Tory policy abroad. In evidence of this they point to the fact that the Tories applaud the Government's foreign policy and denounce its domestic policy. They allege that the Labor Government has wholly failed to make a new and friendly approach to the Soviet Union. They assert that the foreign policy of the British Government is dictated by Washington and Wall Street. They declaim that the Foreign Secretary has restored King George of the Hellenes and has done all in his power to protect Franco in Spain. Finally, they accuse the Foreign Secretary of being pathologically hostile to Communism in any form and of having thereby alienated the sympathies of the resistance movements and progressive forces throughout Europe. Underlying all this criticism is the implication that America and Britain are forming a bloc directed against the Soviet Union.

These attacks are concentrated on the person of Ernest Bevin, Britain's wartime Minister of Labor and present Foreign Secretary. At first sight, the accusers must recognize in Bevin a redoubtable adversary. He did not want to be Foreign Secretary. He wanted to be Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the Prime Minister asked him to undertake what has turned out to be the more formidable task. Bevin has fulfilled in his lifetime Job's dictum, "Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward." He has spent 36 years of his life in "combat and trouble and contention of one kind and another." Always he has fought for the industrial and political rights of the working class from which he is sprung. Today his accent is as broad as ever and his method of speech direct. "It is forgotten in this age," he said recently, "but when the Soviet did not have a friend I got dockers and other people to assist in forming the Council of Action and stop Lloyd George attacking

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