NOTED WELSHMAN'S STIRRING MAESTEG ADDRESS:
Europe in the Melting Pot
The Advertiser, Wales
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1932
Mr. Gareth Jones's broadcast talk on international affairs last week - which
was given in Welsh-was quite remarkably characteristic. The microphone for
once preserved every iota of his personality, the enthusiasm and vivacity
that mark every speech he makes, and that peculiar impression of intimacy,
as of addressing a single listener across the fireside, which is a great
part of their attraction. One could almost see his quick, eager gestures,
and the changing expressions with which he illustrates every anecdote.
Last week he gave us a little tale which was told among the anti-Nazi
Lutherans in Germany of a staunch Nazi priest who, before commencing
service, ordered that anyone who was a Jew should leave the church. There
was a brief pause and then the figure of Christ stepped down from the
crucifix on the altar and silently went out of the building.
Well over a thousand people attended the annual peace demonstration
organised by the Maesteg branch of the League of Nations Union which was
held at the Maesteg Town Hall on Sunday evening. The chair was taken by Mr.
Evan Williams, J.P., and added interest in the proceedings was provided by
the attendance of the Nantyffyllon Juvenile Choir.
The speaker was Mr. Gareth Vaughan Jones (London), a young Welshman of
exceeding promise. Mr. Jones has travelled extensively and spoke from first
hand knowledge. Taking for his subject "Europe in the Melting Pot," he put
forward an answerable case for peace and held his audience enthralled from
beginning to end.
He said that not many months ago he was standing on one
of the highest buildings Moscow, and next to him stood a young Russian
idealist. As they gazed out upon the city the young Russian asked that what
lie (Mr. Jones) saw was symbolic of what was going to happen to the rest of
the world. There would soon be another world war, added the Russian.
FALL OF EMPIRES
Later he (the speaker) was on a skyscraper in New York in company with a
renowned American business man, who said that the depression was not a trade
cycle but a turning point in world history. The civilisation of the world
was being rapidly impaired he added. Were these prophecies coming true?
That was the question they had to face at the present time.
The valleys of South Wales had seen the fall of empires and ancient
civilisation. Would they see the crash of the present civilisation? A shot
in a small European country led to thousands men 1eaving the Maesteg
A revolution in South America meant the cancellation of orders for coal
and misery the Maesteg valley. One ton of coal in Maesteg had an influence
on the lives of dozens of people in the far flung corners of the world.
It would be realised then that Maesteg had millions of bonds with the rest
of world and when they were shattered it meant suffering in the district.
As a boy he used to look out of the window of his home in Barry and see the
glow of the Dowlais works. Now when he looked out there was no glow; the
works had closed down.
IN OTHER COUNTRIES
Forty-five out of every hundred miners in South Wales were out of work. The
percentage iron workers unemployed was higher still, and in the shipbuilding
trades sixty-five out of every hundred were unemployed. What was the
position in other countries? Starting in Germany, there they would hear
cries of "Up with Hitler!" and 'Down with the capitalists!" And in Southern
Germany they would hear the schoolmaster read out the War Guilt Clause and
the children reply that the name Germany would be borne in their souls until
the day of honour and freedom.
Going to Poland, they would find sentries tramping along the frontier line.
They never knew the minute a shot would be fired. In that country was being
built what had been described as the finest aerodrome in Europe. If they
asked a Pole why that aerodrome was being built he would reply that they
were expecting another war.
In Russia the idea was prevalent that England meant to attack them, has
starting another world war, while in Manchuria no one was safe. Since
the attack of the Japanese the forces of disorder had swept across the
country, and if they asked a soldier if he was for the new state he would
reply, "My uniform is Japanese, but not my heart." Manchuria had been
a boomerang hitting back at the Japanese.
In Japan itself they were in the midst an acute financial crisis. The
Times, a paper not given to sensationalism, had stated that the country was
starving to death. The military was in control and the result had not been a
happy one. Crossing to America they would find that all the American
battle-ships were concentrated in the Pacific.
SWIFT ACTION NEEDED
One great observer had stated that wars would some day break out between
America and Japan and Russia and China, unless Britain and France acted
swiftly. In Chicago there was a panic. They would hear that the price of
wheat had fallen to the lowest level for 340 years. Wheat was as cheap now
as in the time of Shakespeare.
They would find in. New York that one million of the city's inhabitants
were unemployed. They would be told that the greatest ship in the world,
the Leviathan, had been idle throughout last winter, and that was
symbolical of what was happening to shipping through out the world.
What was the cause of this chaos? Many blamed the capitalists, and it was
true that armament firms were working to create war scares throughout the
world. They had bought up newspapers and filled them with patriotic hymns
of hate. It was a fact that the Boers had shot down British troops with
guns manufactured in England, and the same thing happened in the
Dardanelles. The Churches had rightly protested to the Prime Minister
against private individuals holding vested interests in weapons of death.
The root cause of the chaos, however, was nationalism. Nationalism was
poisoning our whole system and the depression was nature's lash to teach us
the follies of nationalism. The bonds that united the world were being cut.
It had led to economic warfare, which had had disastrous effects upon the
trade of the world. World co-operation was rapidly diminishing and this was
leading to the downfall of the League of Nations.
One example was the failure of the members of the League to unite to stop
the invasion by the Japanese of Manchuria. Shortly the fate of the League
was going to be decided. A German, whom he had asked what was going to
happen if the League failed had replied that Germany was bound to re-arm and
she would struggle until she got a position in which war could again come
The fate of the League was now in the balance, and if nothing was
done in the next few weeks in the cause of disarmament all hope of world
co-operation would be lost. Economic warfare was daily getting more severe
and world trade was being strangled. Tariffs were being raised in every
country and soon trade would shrink to a vanishing point. The only hope he
could see for the world was a bold policy of disarmament. (Applause.)
STRENGTHENING THE LEAGUE
Britain had made a pledge and she was in honour bound to disarm. The League
of Nations should be strengthened and the assassin economic nationalism
fought. Next year the Economic Conference would meet, and if that failed
the prophecies he gave at the beginning of his speech would come true. He
trusted that that conference would not show the same cowardice, as did the
One ray of hope was the American policy. That great nation was working
hand in hand with the League. Another ray of hope was the French policy.
That country's policy had undergone a dramatic change.
The brightest ray of hope would be a bold policy of disarmament on
the part of the British Government. He trusted that they would not be too
late for which millions had died in 1914-18. (.Applause)
In expressing his gratitude to Mr. Jones for such an excellent speech the
chairman said it was hypocritical to pay homage to those who had died in the
war unless they realised they had a sacred duty to perform. And that duty
was to ensure that what had happened in 1914-18 would not happen again.
They should teach their children the truth of the war years, so that they
would realise the horror and futility of war. To-day a greater desire was
expressed for peace than ever before, but notwithstanding that there was a
great danger of another war breaking out. They should purge the public life
of the country and see to it that no public man held vested interests in
armaments. The next war would mean annihilation.
He appealed to the people of Maesteg to take a greater interest in the
League of Nations Union. The local branch, he said, had only 130
members, and this was not good enough.
It was up to all to play their part in assuring peace by joining the League
ArtUkraine.com thanks Margaret Siriol Colley and Nigel Colley for
furnishing this interesting article from their extensive Gareth Jones
archives. Please check out the Gareth Jones website created by
the Colley's: http://www.colley.co.uk/garethjones/index.html