Lot 675: Questionnaire, signed at the conclusion, "'First serial right' to International News Service, G. Bernard Shaw, 25 Jany 1948," three pages on two sheets, 8 x 10.25, International News Service letterhead, sent to Shaw by James E. Brown. Brown presents four questions to Shaw in his letter, which Shaw answers in dark red ink. Questionnaire reads, "1.) Do you approve of Mr. Bevin's proposals for a western European union? [Shaw:] I do not see what else Mr. Bevin can do under the circumstances than play for what union he can get in Europe or elsewhere out of politically uneducated electorates and pseudo-statesmen who do not know what their shibboleths mean. Meanwhile he must borrow what he can from the U. S. A. in view of the general European bilking that followed 1918, and the frequent prodigious bilk that is politely called devaluation of the franc. Poincaré over again!2.) Do you believe some measure of material prosperity in western Europe will halt the spread of Communism? [Shaw:] No. I believe that the spread of Communism will enormously increase the material prosperity of the world if civilization be not wrecked by childish rulers playing with atomic bombs and the like. Even the atomic may be superseded by the discovery of a poison gas lighter than air, which will kill men without destroying their works. That would civilize us if anything can.3.) Do you agree with Mr. Churchill that the western powers 'should bring matters to a head' with the Soviet Union before the Russians perfect the atom bomb? [Shaw:] That depends on what the head is. A thick head may mean war. A clear head may save the situation, for a while at least. The clearest head available at present is Stalin's; but no man is more dangerously misunderstood both here and in the U. S. S. R. where his official supremacy is in fact as precarious that we in the west should give him all the support and countenance in our power. Stalin is a Communist in principle; but so was Trotsky, who declared him to be a vulgar ugly upstart poisoner, and would have had him shot had he supplanted him in the Politbureau. The issue between them was between Fabian tactics, a British invention (called H. F. P. in Russia) and instantaneous catastrophic universal economic revolution throughout the world: a flat impossibility. It is for us to back Stalin as an arch Fabian against the world, including Russia.4.) Do you feel the 'straight speaking' to Russia now in vogue in Britain and the U. S. A. will prevent war between the East and West by forcing Soviet Russia to delay or halt her world expansion policy? [Shaw:] There has been no straight speaking except from Stalin, who stands for Socialism In A Single Country as against Imperialist expansion. He knows that Soviet Russia cannot afford another war, and has to beware of warmongers in Russia as well (or ill) as in America and the British Commonwealth. He has to deal with Churchillian Tory Democracy, alias Fascism or the annexation of Fabianism for the benefit of the private owners of the natural sources of production, and Labour Party chiefs like ours, who are actually to the Right of Mr Churchill with their senseless denunciations of Communism as such, and of Totalitarianism, which is Anarchism; for a law that is not totalitarian is no law. The real mischief is the silly notion that constitutional policy can be totalitarian. All civilisation begins and endures with Communism. Nobody proposes to decommunise our streets, bridges, water, police, courts of justice and the rest, nor to abolish Cobdenist free trade utterly. Without Communism we should starve. Without Cobdenism we should stagnate. Without Fascism betwixt and between the transition to Socialism would not work. There is no such animal as a totalitarian Socialist, Individualist, Democrat, Tory, or Whig: there are only human beings, described by Carlyle as mostly fools. But I must bid you gooday, as I doubt whether you understand a word I am saying." In fine condition, with intersecting folds and scattered wrinkling. Interesting insight into Shaw's opinions of the European political climate after World War II.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 460
Wednesday, 16th September 2015
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