|TWO ATTACKS AND A WARNING|
At the same time as the Holy Office was making public its attitude in L'Osservatore Romano, a current of sympathy towards Moral Re- Armament was developing in some circles in Rome, which made itself felt very discreetly in order not to undermine the authority of the Holy Office. In particular the people working around Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini, Pro-Secretary of State to Pius XII who was himself to become Pope Paul VI, always welcomed news of Moral Re-Armament actions, and were eager to be kept informed.
As Robert Schuman left Caux on 13 September 1953 he turned to Buchman and said, 'Will you help us in Morocco?'
'Gladly,' said Buchman, 'but I don't speak Arabic.'
'That doesn't matter,' replied Schuman. 'Use French.'
Buchman explained that he had gone to Grenoble when young to try and learn French,* but 'I have only two words left - "mauvais garcon"!'
(* This was in July 1912, during a vacation from Penn State College.)
'That will carry you a long way,' laughed Schuman, 'and besides, you get along without language. You speak the language of the heart.'
Two weeks later Buchman's attention was again drawn forcibly to the problems of French North Africa when the French socialist journalist, Jean Rous,* brought two nationalists, one Moroccan and the other Tunisian, to Caux.
(* Then working for Franc-Tireur, Paris.)
The Tunisian was Mohammed Masmoudi, the senior representative of Néo-Destour, the illegal nationalist party, at liberty in France. Its leader, Habib Bourguiba, had been arrested in 1952 and Masmoudi, having no identity papers, crossed the frontier into Switzerland secretly at Saint-Gingolph on the opposite side of the Lake of Geneva from Caux. He had reason to hate the French. He had himself been for some days in a condemned cell and, while at Caux, heard that his brother had been arrested.
The Moroccan was Si Bekkai, who had just resigned as Pasha of Sefrou. A colonel in the army of France during World War II, he had lost a leg in her defence. But when, that August, the French had deposed Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Youssef and deported him to Madagascar, Si Bekkai had resigned his office and exiled himself to Paris. The Sultan had been deposed because of his sympathy with the independence movement, and replaced by his uncle Ben Arafa. The powerful Pasha of Marrakesh, El Glaoui, feeling that the Sultan had been promoting too precipitate a move to independence, had encouraged the French in his deposition. Si Bekkai came to Caux perplexed and bitter.
Buchman met both Masmoudi and Si Bekkai, and learnt much about the situation in their countries. He also introduced them to his French colleagues, who astonished them by their open admission of French mistakes. Above all, he saw that they heard the inside story of the reconciliations wrought at Caux between French and Germans. Masmoudi was particularly affected. 'I said to myself ', he wrote later, 'that, after all, relations between France and Tunisia had never been so bad as those between France and Germany.' When he received a letter from his eighty-year-old mother ending, 'God bless you, my son. God curse the French', he had replied that she should indeed continue to ask God to bless him, but should cease cursing the French.1 On his third day at Caux, he declared publicly that he was prepared to meet any representative of the colonial authorities and believed that 'in the spirit of the four principles of Moral Re-Armament' they, like the Germans and French, might be able to come to an understanding.