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Stressing the attention America must pay to its civil liberties, its tolerance, and its part in a post-war world, Norman Thomas parried questioners for an hour after his short address at Phillips Brooks House yesterday afternoon.

In a speech sponsored by the Harvard Committee Against Dictatorship and Imperialism, the three-times Socialist candidate for President reviewed American relations with Japan since the Chinese conflict broke ont in 1937, and maintained that a different American attitude at that time might have altered the present situation. Scores Buying of Jap Gold

"You can't play God for a nickle," Thomas asserted, as he told of the part American industrialists had played in continuing to buy Japanese gold while supporting the Chinese war stand.

Three courses of action were open to the United States at the outbreak of the Chinese-Japanese war, Thomas declared. We might have asserted our sympathies for the Chinese and boycotted Japanese war materials, as we did; we might have ignored the Asiatic situation and tried appeasement; or we could, as Thomas suggested, have made a definite effort to call a halt to the conflict by conference, by offering trade proposals, and by altering the present unilateral Oriental exclusion act to a multilateral agreement, or even to a quota plan.

"Despite the fact that a long, hard war has just begun, it is now that we should pay attention to civil liberties, and to democratic socialization, and maintain discussion and open-mindness, for if we don't do it now, when will we ever do it?" the gray-haired Middle-Westerner continued.

In the animated discussion which followed the talk, the Socialist leader pointed out the influence Russia will have, along with England and America, in the determination of an adequate peace.

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