GREAT BRITAIN: The Curtain of Ignorance

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    Attlee, made a ritual of rising, walking along the table to clink his glass in gracious courtesy with each delegate. He toasted world peace, Anglo-Chinese friendship, Queen Elizabeth. Chou even attended a banquet given by British Charge d'Affaires Humphrey Trevelyan, whose very presence Chou had ignored for more than a year.

    Two-Way Traffic. At last Mao Tse-tung himself received them in a secret rendezvous in the Forbidden City. Over fragrant tea and flanked by Chou and the party's chief theoretician, Liu Shao-chi, Mao-asked solicitously if they were tired from their rounds, and Franklin admitted that all of them together would not make one "Model Worker." But Mao was in a serious mood. ("He would make an outstanding labor negotiator," said Earn-shaw.) Blandly, he laid on the line his terms for coexistence. He wanted Attlee to ask the U.S. to 1) withdraw the U.S. Seventh Fleet and abandon its support of Chiang; 2) cease arming Japan; 3) cease arming Germany.

    According to Attlee's own account, "I pointed out that a two-way traffic was needed, and that they might propose to their Russian friends the giving of complete freedom to all the satellite states to choose their own governments, the reduction of armaments in the most heavily armed state in the world, Russia, and the cessation of Russian-inspired activities in other countries." Then Mao complained that the U.S. was "aggressive and was seeking to build up a ring of subordinate states from Japan to Indo-China. Whereupon I said: 'As Russia has done in Europe?' "

    The preposterous effect was of two moderate, reasonable men restraining the (equally) reprehensible acts of two obstreperous partners. Attlee himself seemed to regard this episode as showing how he stood up to the Communists, and Moscow's Pravda obligingly reacted a few days later by denouncing Attlee's unfortunate remarks after the Russians had shown him such a good time.

    In Shanghai, that abandoned monument to British mercantile capitalism, Attlee & Co. talked happily of more trade, but made no serious effort to seek out the embittered British businessmen who have been struggling for five years to settle up their firms' affairs and get permission to leave. Once there were 5,000 British in Shanghai; now there, are 186, the men sitting forlornly in their empty offices, reading detective stories because the Chinese will let them do nothing else. The golf courses where Englishmen had played, the clubs where billiard balls had clicked, were silent and desolate. As for reports that things are now a little easier, one businessman snapped: "Oh, yes, the lift boy says 'Good morning' to you again, but they are still taking away the lift."

    Tired, hot and irritable, the pilgrims stopped off for a two-day rest at the ancient beauty spot of Hangchow, where pagodas rim lovely West Lake, in which gold carp come at a visitor's clap. Swimming in a pool in the grounds of a former Buddhist temple, gliding over the lake, the delegation seemed oblivious of the landing craft they had seen assembled along Shanghai's Whangpoo River, and of the Peking radio's loud declaration that China intended to liberate Formosa forthwith—and would "brook no U.S. occupation, no U.N. trusteeship, no neutralization."

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