- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 6 Dec 1945, p. 135-151
- Mooney, George S., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- A look at the situation across Europe from the Baltic on the north to the Black Sea on the south, and Poland in the east and northwest Europe. Included in the descriptions are some of the programs being carried out by the UNRRA. First, the situation in France in terms of available food, bringing the land back to agricultural use. The extent to which mines have been sown in the land. The number of bridges down and the reconstruction problems which face the French people. Resuming pre-war normalcy in Paris. Inflated prices in the Paris market (both legal and black). All of Europe to be cold this winter because of the lack of coal. The situation in Belgium not dissimilar to that of France. The resumption, in a small way, of the steel industry in Belgium. Belgium presenting the healthiest economic outlook of all European countries. The unrehabilitated steel industry in Luxemborg. The grim outlook in Holland. Bridging the holes in the dykes. The task of pumping out millions of gallons of briny salt water from off the soil of Northeast Holland: now narrowed from seven to five years. The problem of petty thievery. The issue of rehabilitating the youth of Europe. Poland: scarred and scorched and burned and blacked-out and devastated from one end to the other. Disease and death in Poland. Yugoslavia badly devastated. The scorched earth policy the Yugoslavs practiced on themselves in order that material would not fall into the hands of the enemy. Greece also scorched, burned out. Mass starvation in Greece. Signs of a wobbly financial structure in Greece. The UNRRA stabilizing the drachma. Italy, an ex-enemy country that is scorched. The UNRRA feeding about 2,000,000 school children a day; offering a program for pregnant and expectant mothers and nursing mothers; food and special nursing care for old and sick. A great scarcity of food and clothing, medical supplies and other needs for the Italian population. Austria not as bad as Germany, but bad. The situation in Vienna: starving people, no electricity, no gas, no heat, no utilities, no running water, no sewers. The people of Austria today paying the price for a small group of high scheming Nazis in Austria. Germany paying the price physically as a country. German cities and physical plants in ruin. German prisoners in other countries. The worst-off Germans the women and children. Refugees who were bombed out and are coming back. Britain. The sixth long winter of lean rations. The British people helping the people of France. The need for Canada to stand by Britain, and to be patient. Europe again at the crossroads of hope and despair.
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- 6 Dec 1945
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- U. N. R. R. A. REPORTS ON EUROPE
AN ADDRESS BY MR. GEORGE S. MOONEY
Chairman: The President, Mr. Eric F. Thompson
Thursday, December 6, 1945
MR. THOMPSON: Controller Balfour, Guests, Members of the Toronto Board of Trade, and Empire Club of Canada, we have as our guest of honour today, the Chief Executive Officer for Europe of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration which organization is more prominently known as UNRRA.
Our guest speaker has recently completed an extensive trip through Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Italy and the Balkans, as well as the Middle East. So that the Canadian public may be informed of the essential facts underlying the present European outlook, he will today present to us the picture as he sees it and one in which I am sure we are all vitally interested.
A native of Toronto, he was educated in Montreal and has, since his graduation from McGill University, been almost continuously in public service in various capacities, holding such positions as Director of Research of the Canadian Committee on Co-operative Movements; Director of the Department of Planning and Research of the Montreal Metropolitan Commission; co-Director of the Montreal Industrial and Economic Bureau; Consultant to the Canadian Federation of Mayors and Municipalities as well as a Director of that organization.
During the war period he acted as economic consultant of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board and in 1944, he left Canada to take up his post with UNRRA. With his experience in public affairs, he is the ideal man for the present position and it is with extreme pleasure that I present to you, Mr. George S. Mooney, who will talk to us on the subject "UNRRA Reports on Europe".
MR. GEORGE S. MOONEY: Mr. Chairman, Members of the Empire Club and The Board of Trade, I want to take you with me across Europe from the Baltic on the north to the Black Sea on the south, and Poland in the east and northwest Europe, and try to paint for you in the next 40 minutes a word picture of what the situation is, and what the situation promises. Come with me first of all to Northwest Europe, to France, to Belgium, to Luxemburg and to Holland. The situation in France is substantially different from that of last winter and this spring. France had its grim winter last winter. In the subsequent months the French authorities have laid on a procurement program of supplies and the evidence would seem to suggest that on the whole France will come through this winter not too badly. Not too badly, comparatively speaking, not too badly. Its civilian population will be on a food intake of about 2,200 calories a day; that isn't high, the Army set as its standard, to prevent disease and unrest, for the civilian population 2,000 calories a day, so France will be just above that level. There is still considerable clearing away to be done, particularly on the land in France before large sections of the French soil can come back into agricultural use again. I wonder if you know that there are still 100 million mines in the soil of France to be taken off, and out, before vast sections of that land can be made safe for agricultural production. How many hundreds of millions of other mines there are throughout the continent of Europe, I don't know, but France is indicative of probably the extent to which mines have been sown elsewhere on the continent.
I wonder, too, if you know that in France there are 10,000 bridges down; how many thousands of bridges elsewhere are down in Europe, I don't know, but very few are up. Those are the kind of reconstruction problems which face the French people. In Paris, of course, superficially, it has resumed much 'of its pre-war normalcy. It has again become Gay Paree. There appears to be a considerable amount of supplies in the stores of Paris, at least in that part of Paris that you, as a visitor, would see, however, the goods in those stores are pretty highly inflated in price. And most Frenchmen and most Parisianers haven't got the kind of money that inflated goods are selling at on the Paris market, whether it be on the legal market or on the black market of Paris, and indeed if it is on the black market, of course only a fractional few of the population can afford those kind of prices. France will be cold this winter, but then all Europe will be cold this winter, there is no coal in Europe for domestic heating, there is all too little for stoking the furnaces of industrial plants. There is all too little other fuel for the heating of homes. Europe will suffer this winter with the cold of winter. Winter caught Europe pretty early in-its grip, and the promises are that it will be a long winter as well as a cold and hungry winter for millions and millions of Europeans. Yet France, comparative to other parts of Europe, as I so briefly indicate, is not facing too grim a time.
The situation in Belgium is not dissimilar to that of France. In the south where the Ardenne steals over from Luxemburg, considerable devastation up towards and around Liege, the port cities of Ostend and so on, badly battered at the port front but the amount of physical devastation in Belgium is not comparable to that suffered in the last war. Belgium has its own coal mines, the coal mines of Belgium are relatively near to important industrial plants, and this finds a reflection in the fact that there is industrial production going on in Belgium. The glass industry is resuming itself, the leather industry, having difficulty in getting hides, but are putting out a great number of canvas top shoes with wooden soles, they can be used. The steel industry beginning in a small way to resume itself in Belgium. Economically speaking I would say that perhaps Belgium presents the healthiest economic outlook for the moment of all European countries. Employment is on the up, true it is not gaining in great momentum, but it is steadily increasing. At the close of the last war Belgium was the first of the European countries to recover and it is probably going to repeat that performance at the close of this war.
In Luxemborg you get thrown into bold relief one of the paradoxes and one of the difficulties of the restoration of normal economic life throughout Europe. I went down to south Luxemborg not so many weeks ago with Premier Dupong to visit the steel industry scattered in about 20 or 30 towns and villages in South Luxemborg.
Here they are--their smoke stacks are smokeless. Here is an industrial plant completely idle. The entire economic life of Luxemborg is based on that single industry. There is a relatively small leather industry, a. tanning industry in the north of Luxemborg, but it employs four or five thousand people only. The great mass of industrial labor in Luxemborg is employed in its steel mills. When the Germans walked out of Luxemborg last October, they left intact that huge industry, they didn't demolish a plant, they didn't take out a machine, they confidently expected that within a matter of a relatively short while they would be back; they knew full well that they would need the output of the steel from the steel industry of Luxemborg. On our part we didn't bomb Luxemborg, South Luxemborg, not a bomb fell over that part of Europe. No fighting waged in that territory, we ourselves knew that once liberation came to Europe we, too, would need the steel from that industry of Luxemborg, the 7th greatest steel producing country in the world, the Arvid Co., after the Bethleham steel works, the second largest steel company in the world with 35,000 employees in its mills alone. We knew we'd need that steel to reconstruct the thousands of bridges that I told you are down, to build and renew the railway inland transportation system of Europe which is completely almost destroved. Hundreds of thousands of miles of steel rails torn and twisted in the fields. Locomotives, rolling stock, we knew we'd need it to rebuild factories and office buildings, and all the other things that steel is needed for, we occupied Luxemborg after the Germans left there in late October, early November, and safe- for 2,000 employees of the Arvid Co., out of its total of 35,000 working at two blast furnaces, that have 276, save for those two blast furnaces, that whole industry is lying idle. Steel that could be produced is not being produced--why? Two hundred and fifty miles away, as the crow flies, is the rich coal mines of the Ruhr, it was from there that Luxemborg got its coal, from the coke ovens of the Ruhr. We're not able to move that coal and that coke from the Ruhr, 250 miles because don't you see the very bridges we want to repair are down. We can't move that coal and that coke to get that vast industry working again. A year has gone by, that industry lies idle. That is just one of the many paradoxes and the dilemmas confronting those who are engaged in the task of rehabilitation, reconstruction of devastated Europe.
In Holland, the outlook is much grimer than that for other parts of Northwest Europe. Here is a country which has paid a very bitter pill for its effective resistance to the enemy. During the years of Nazi occupation, during particularly the last six months of German occupation, the Dutch came through some very grim months. All of Northeast Holland, that rich agricultural soil of Holland reclaimed from the North Sea, after years of patient arduous toil, that vast engineering undertaking the dykes -of Northeast Holland, reached by the Germans letting in the flooded waters of the North Sea spread over hundreds of thousands of acres. I'm glad to report to you that as of about this time, the last hole in the dykes will be bridged, the North Sea will be back again where it was, but there still remains the task of pumping out those millions of gallons of briny salt water from off the soil of Northeast Holland. I'm glad to- report, too, that the estimate was originally that it would take 7 years but that task has now been narrowed to 5 years. But it will be 5 years yet before the tulip bulbs will grow once again in Northeast Holland. Before the Dutch dairy herds can graze on the rich luscious grass, of Northeast Holland, indeed if it will be possible in 5 years to re-claim that lost dairy herds of Northeast Holland. That isn't the only physical loss that Holland has experienced consequence upon the war. All of Southwest Holland, as some of you folks in this room probably know, in and around Nimogen and Arnhem there is where you see a scarred, battered countryside. Villages down, farm houses in rubbles, the railway system twisted and torn, all the copper and wire taken from the electrified railways of Holland by the Germans in their last defeating days. That's how Holland has experienced the full bitter blow of modern warfare. Not only there, in the cities, in Amsterdam, in Rotterdam, that mile square almost that last November we pin-pointed and bombed out because it was the heart of the heart of the Gestapo and the Nazi storm troopers in Rotterdam, now lies humbled and, in ruins, and The Haig, and The Hook, the cities of Holland have experienced a pretty bitter battering up. But it isn't that that is worrying the Dutch so very much. I parked my car outside the British Officers' Mess at The Haig some weeks ago, and as I was going into the door, the entrance to the Mess, a military policeman came rushing after me, he said "Sir, you've left your car unlocked". I said "I know all about it, officer". He said "Sir, you've left your car unlocked, you had better come back and lock it." I said "I'm only going to be a minute or two." Well he argued with me and I with him, probably we argued two or three minutes at the most and finally to satisfy him I walked back and locked my car. The damage had been done; my tobacco pouch was gone. Petty thievery everywhere, why petty thievery? Why is it you can't leave anything loose around in Holland, Here is a country which before the war its Civil Service were regarded as comparable only to that of the British Civil Service in their standards and conduct. If you dare offer a cigaret to a Dutch civil servant lest that might have been regarded as'an attempt to bribe him, or influence his judgment. Today you daren't ask him to do anything for you unless you are prepared to give more than cigarets. What has happened to the Dutch population? Not only the population of Holland, I'm only using now Holland as an example, but what has happened to our Europe that those kind of standards have come down shattering along with the physical shattering of Europe. You talk to a Dutchman, an older person, and they'll shake their heads. Then, of course, the story will become apparent if you think about it more. For five long years we told the youth of Holland we'd kill them, we'd train them in the arts of deceit, and cunning, and thievery, yes, indeed, it is necessary to kill, the resistance movement, the youth movement of the continent. In the naive of high patriotism, and indeed it was a patriotic thing to do, to offer every kind of resistance to the enemy, to go up and down the highways and the byways of Holland you see little crosses on the village streets and by the side of the road, three and four of them together sometimes only one, no, they are not the graves of Canadian soldiers or British soldiers, our Canadian dead and British dead are now in their military cemeteries. They're the little white crosses marking the spot where one or two, or three or four Dutch youths, boys and girls, literally, caught by the Germans either in the act or suspected of some act of sabotage. They weren't given the niceties of a Nuremberg trial, and all the legalities of high jurisprudence; they were shot on the spot, and there they lie buried, with a. little white cross to mark their last resting place. Well, if you train a youth that way don't you see, if that is what you expect of your youth during a period of occupation by the kind of an enemy that occupied Holland and other countries, if in the name of patriotism the best of your youth are urged to go out and lie and steal, and be cunning and deceitful and to kill, then the simple fact that war has come to an end doesn't change that kind of action. It is going to take a longer time to rehabilitate the morale and the morality of this generations of Europe's youth than it will be to rehabilitate and reconstruct their cities and towns, and devastated physical plants. Come with me to Poland-I want to take you to a country that is scarred and scorched and burned and black-out and devastated from one end to the other, across its long width and breadth--Poland, is devastated. In Warsaw, a city which is in almost complete ruins, we find pockets here and there where people have been able to burrow in and clear away some place to live, but by and large Warsaw is down, in Warsaw, take its Jewish population, of its prewar population of 250,000 Jews, 5,000 are alive. Of its total pre-war population of Jews for all Poland of three and a half million, 80,000 are left. There are 10,000 deaths a month these months in Warsaw from TB, pardon me, that's the figure for all Poland, from TB. You've heard about the million deaths, or the million cases of venereal disease in Poland. That isn't only indicative of Poland, that's a universal phenomena on the continent. A phenomena, of course it is not a phenomena, that is what war does. That too is one of the costs of war but not only TB and VD but Scabby. Incipient outbreaks of Typhus and Diphtheria. I'm glad to see in this afternoon's paper, which I just read before coming that Dr. Topping, our European director of health reassures us that no serious outbreaks epidemics of disease are contemplated this winter for Europe. But I know Dr. Topping, I know he's given that as a note of reassurance but behind his back he's got his fingers crossed. I saw Dr. Topping in Athens, not so many weeks ago, and we had a long chat together. We talked together about the 100,000 bodies still in the ruins of Warsaw, of the untold thousands still in the rubble of Berlin, of the 40,000 in the rubble of Kassel of how many other thousands in the rubble of other European cities, I don't know:--Kindly winter has cast a mantle of white disposing of that situation probably for the winter, but the rats are in there, and spring will come. Spring thaws might well be the beginning of a serious health situation to say the least in Europe. So far we've been able to contain typhus, the great international disease, and cholera, and the plague has, not broken out in any wide way, thanks to medical science, thanks to this marvelous new powder, DDT, not the DT's but DDT's. We've literally DDT'd Europe from one end to the other by plane and by hand spray, those kind of contributions of modern medical science have kept in check, without a doubt, the spread of disease, but the medical men on the staff of UNRRA and those medical men who have seen the European situation, are holding their fingers crossed. Poland, not only disease, not only lack of clothing-when we went in to Poland on the basis of an early summary- estimate, our summary was that 80% of the Poles were statistically naked. And what do I mean by statistically naked. I mean that they had no replaceable clothes. The clothes they possessed were the clothes they had on their back, and in thousands and thousands of instances, in most instances, those clothes were already pretty shoddy, and worn. Thanks to the Canadian clothing drive, and to a similar clothing drive in the United States, we're in process of shipping over, we've already shipped over 100,000,000 pounds of used clothing from the United States and Canada to the needy spots of Europe. But all of the clothing you conceivably could give, would hardly be adequate to clothe all the needy bodies of Europe's ragged, poorly clothed population. There are still 5,000,000 Poles out of a total population of 23,000,000 unhoused, bombed out. Hundreds of thousands of them building little leantos, out of the rubble of their devastated cities. Bricks and stones and what other building material they can put their fingers on, for cement, well of course they don't use cement, they use mud. Primitive housing, thousands living in caves, thousands in trenches, more or less, and are living like animals in the ground this winter. I said about France, and it is true about Poland and elsewhere no coal, for heating. It is going to be a pretty grim winter, for the people of Poland. We've been able to bring their daily intake of food up to around 2,000 calories, just at that level which the army says is the dead minimum to prevent disease and unrest. We're hoping to be able to hold it there, we'll probably not be able to increase it. It had been our hope that we could bring all of liberated Europe within 6 months liberation, to 2,650 calories a day, we'll not do it, we'll not be able to do it. Here in Canada you are consuming about 3,450 calories per day per person. In Poland it will be about 2,000 calories, elsewhere in Europe, as I shall presently tell you, it will be much, much less than that.
Come with me to Yugoslavia--here is a country that like Poland is badly devastated. Of course you can't devastate those mountains of Yugoslavia, they'll remain there even in spite of atomic bombs, if we have to ever resort to that, but those villages in the valleys of Yugoslavia, more than 3,000 of them burned out, and I mean burned out-every house, every stable, the church, the school, the local town hall, in rubbles completely burned out. Not always burned out by the Germans, nor during the period that the Italians were nearby-in the hundreds of instances, probably more, those villages that you see burned out, in Northern Yugoslavia, were burned out by the Yugoslavians themselves. If any people practiced literally the scorched earth policy on themselves, then indeed the Yugoslavs practiced that policy. It takes a lot of courage, my friends, to burn your own house; to destroy your own town, to pollute your own wells, to poison your own cattle, those that you can't take with you so that they won't fall into the hands, or be of use to the enemy. It takes a lot of courage to do that sort of thing. Yugoslavia's 12,000,000 population in 1939, 2,000.000 were killed during the 5 years of war. Relate that to Canada, if you please. There are 800,000 orphans in Yugoslavia, relate that to Canada, if you please. These are some of the costs of war.
Come with me to Greece--here is a country, too, like Yugoslavia and Poland is scorched, burned out. A country that was peculiarly the vindictive butt of the Nazis during their period of occupation. Indeed if it had not been for wheat shipments, largely from Canada, during the years 1942 and 1943, sent off to the Swiss Relief Commission, the plight of the Greeks would have been truly a desperate one. As it was when Scobie walked in there last October, there was mass starvation. In the year that he has had to try to restore some normal health, with the people of Greece we've made considerable progress, but the country is still torn economically politically. The financial structure of the country is very wobbly to say the least. We've stabilized the drachma at 300 to the U. S. dollar last November, it takes about 3,500 drachma to buy that same U. S. dollar today, as a consequence there's no durable goods for sale, a merchant wouldn't sell you a watch, or an ink well, and take your drachma, he'd sooner hold on to that watch or that ink well, and not only the watch or the ink well, but he won't ship into the market if he's a peasant farmer, even from the modest harvest they've had, nature has been very unkind to the Balkans and Eastern Central Europe this past season; crops have been a failure right and left. 30°7c of the olive oil crop of Greece, 40% of its wheat crop, less than 40'0 of its rice crop, when you get that kind of a situation, a poor harvest, and one that currency, the drachma has no continuing value; you've got a durable agricultural product like olive oil, or wheat, or rice; it takes a lot of persuasion, doesn't it, to get farmers to part with their good, durable food, so that it has made the problem of relief in Greece that much more difficult, politically, the country is still torn between the factions of the right and the factions of the left. That, too, is part of the price of war.
Come with me to Italy. Here is an ex-enemy country, from the toe--right up and in Northern Italy, that country is scorched, some of the war's bitterest fighting went on as you know in South Italy, and in the mountain area of North Italy. Those of you who were there will know about Route 65, and Route 67. And you will affirm what I say when I tell you about the villages, the hundreds of them, burned out-that country is badly battered. UNRRA is doing a partial program in Italy, feeding about 2,000,000 school children a day; we have a program for pregnant and expectant mothers and nursing mothers. Food and special nursing care for old and sick, but the adult population of Italy are not UNRRA's charge. There is great scarcity of food and clothing, and medical supplies, and other needs for the Italian population.
Come with me quickly because time presses, to Austria,-here again you get a situation, a country badly battered, probably not as bad, certainly not as badly battered as Germany, all the Western Germany is flat, torn--it is fair to say 100% burned out-rubble cities--flat, even the cathedral I'm afraid will have to come down. Army engineers are not sure they can hold the walls, but it stands there still as a grim symbol over the city of once large metropolitan city of 980,000 in 1939. It had 237,000 housing units and this figure is easy to remember. 237,000 housing units in prewar Cologne. You know how many habitable housing units. there are in Cologne today-237 the city is burned out-what is true of Cologne, is true in part, less probably because Cologne is the most completely devastated of German cities. But it is true in degree, 70, 75, 80 percent of Manheim, and Frankford and Dusseldorf, and Ulm and Kessel and Bingen, fair Bingen on the Rhine, you remember it "For I was born at Bingen, fair Bingen on the Rhine". Bingen is no longer fair, it too is a burned out German city. That is not so true of Austrian cities. Vienna-probably 40% battered up, more by shell fire, practically all by shell fire and street fighting. East of the Danube the worst devastation, those of you who knew Vienna, gay Vienna, well Vienna is no longer gay-Vienna is a pretty sad city, in fact I think it is the saddest of all European cities-it is sad not only because physically it has had a bad battering, it is sad not only because its people today are starving, dying, in Vienna. Living on about 900 calories a day now, since liberation, that's 500 calories a day less than a nutritionist will tell you is needed to maintain life over a long period of time in a human body. Not only because of its starving people, not only because there is no electricity, no gas, no heat, no utilities, no running water--its sewer system blasted to pieces--not only because of that, but sad because the Vienese were not essentially a Nazi people. They were among the most progressive, forward looking social thinking people of all Europe. They were sold down the river by SeyssInquhart, the little group of high scheming Nazis in Austria. You read the story in your newspaper, I don't have to affirm that fact, but they found themselves against their will involuntarily brought into this vortex of Nazism-down the river they went--they are paying the same price, they bear the mark of the German, not because they wished to, but because it was forced on them, spiritually it is a very sad sight. To go back in retrospect and know what Vienna stood for and to see the price its people are paying today consequent upon the experience forced upon them, to a great extent.
Come with me briefly to Germany--I don't want to raise any thoughts, or any sympathy in your minds whatsoever--Germany asked for what she got, and she got it fully. If ever a country physically has paid a complete bitter price for what she brought on the world, Germany has paid that. Her cities, her physical plant are in ruins. Her people--there are two kinds of Germans today, those who are being looked over in prisoner of war camps or in political camps, and those who are not in cages. The manpower of Germany for the most part, these former fighting Nazis, and SS Troopers and the high scheming Nazi politicals; they are being fed, according to the Geneva Convention we must feed them, at the standards of the holding power, and if those prisoners of war in the American zone in Germany or if they are in the British tone, they are being very well fed. Here in Canada you have 100,000 working on the farms,--there are 700,000 in the U. S. In Britain there's slightly over a million and in France there are about a million, in Belgium we've got 50,000 working in the coal mines, how many there are in Russia I don't know, but by and large the best-off Germans this winter are those prisoners of war and those politicals, and the worst-off Germans are the women and children. By a million refugees bombed out, these bombed out families from Cologne, the 980,000 population of Cologne, about 100,000 have come back, built rubble shacks in the ruins, but the others are out somewhere--the women and children are paying the bitterest price, for the infamy of a Hitler and a Goering and a Hess, and Goebbels.
I want to take you to Britain--people have asked me is it true that the British people are going to have a more difficult winter than the people on the continent. Of course it is not true. British people are going to have more food than the Poles, French, Greeks, Austrians, Germans. The point you want to remember when you ask that kind of a question is this-That there has been no change in the British situation. This isn't the first winter, nor the second, nor the third, nor the fourth, nor the fifth, but the sixth long winter of lean rations--of monotonous food, of dry eggs and dried milk and razor pieces of bacon and little hunks of cheese literally. The clothing--we sent clothing off--I don't suppose the British people would take probably too well to our sending over cast-off clothing, I wouldn't know. But it is no disgrace for a British businessman to go down to the city with leather in his elbows and his worn out suit and leather-trimmed cuffs and frayed cloths. I went to a wedding not so long ago, and I was quite intrigued with the very nice dress that the bride's mother had on, so I took her aside and I said "Whose your black marketeer" and she brought me into the living room, and she showed me her black marketeer, the one inch remaining of the living room curtains cut up to make a dress that looked so nice. It is that kind of thing that does something to you when you get to Britain and live with the British people. I remember last December, Dalton, Hugh Dalton was then President of the Board of Trade--he announced a Christmas bonus for every British household, a Christmas cake. 5 pounds of sugar, some sugared fruits, and some raisins, the wherewithal to make a Christmas cake for every British family, and just at that time out of Normandy were coming the distressful stories of bombed out families of Normandy-without homes, hungry, in that grim early winter of last year-that grim winter that France Went' through-just at that time. Do you think when Dalton announced this bonus for the Christmas for the British families that the following morning that the women of Britain were down at the green grocery, shop saying "Give me my 5 pounds of sugar, let me have my iced fruits and my raisins". No, they weren't down at the green grocers; do you know where they were-one of the largest demonstrations all last winter in front of the House of Commons was the women of London who went down there with placards saying to Hugh Dalton--give that food to the French-they need it more than we do--and in 72 hours following letters to the press and so on, Hugh Dalton had to get up and rescind that order. That's the kind of thing that happened among these illogical British-you know they are illogical, they just don't do anything normally. It is amazing that they get along as well as they do. What would you do with people like that? They just don't belong in our kind of community, but that's the way the British people seem to do things. It was the famous American Ralph Waldo Emerson, 50 years ago he said--"About Britain, I see her not dispirited, not weak, but well remembering that she has seen dark days before, indeed with a kind of instinct that she sees a little better in a cloudy day, that in storm and battle and calamity, she has a secret vigour and a pulse like cannon. I see her in old age, not decrepit but young, and still daring to believe in her power of endurance and expansion, "Seeing this I say, 'All Hail, Mother of Nations, Mother of Heroes with strength still equal to the time." Britain still has strength equal to the times.
Financially broke, her markets scattered, I know the present feeling that probably there is among some members of the business community here in this country with respect to the necessities of certain business limitations placed upon the movement of Canadian supplies, my friends, I can only say to you, be patient for awhile, Britain has come through some very tough times, she is going to need our help; we've got to stand by, Britain with strength still equal to the times. Gentlemen, this is an all too hurried picture of the state of affairs on the continent. It is going to be a grim, bleak, cold, desperate, an end, in the hope that we can rebuild a shattered world, we ought to stand by out of a sense of economic enlightenment, self-interest, if you want to put it that way. There can be no normal trade and commerce with many of the countries of Europe until its manpower is fit enough to go back and work on the farms, in the factories. and until some of its factories are restored to the point where they can produce.
Mr. Chairman, I apologize for over-stepping my time. Therein, as I said earlier, in all too brief cryptic form is the outlook--and the challenge of Europe in this winter and spring of 1945 and 1946.