THE WESTERN MAIL, June
World Conference -London (i)
INVISIBLE FORCES AT THE
President Roosevelt must Beware
Special Correspondent at the Conference)
King has spoken. The
representatives of 66 nations, Prime Ministers, Foreign Secretaries,
Ambassadors, coming from all parts of the world, holding the most clashing of
political beliefs and the most varying of religions, have stood to listen to his
appeal for world co-operation.
many countries millions have heard his clear voice welcome the delegates to the
World Economic Conference. It is
difficult to believe that those black-coated men have the fate
of the world in their hands, and that this simple and dignified hall of the
Geological Museum, South Kensington, will witness decisions affecting the lives
of South Wales miners and of Argentinian farmers; of Cardiff tippers and of
Berlin shop assistants; of Glamorgan tin-plate workers and of New York
problems which will be discussed are prices, the gold standard, tariffs, quotas,
embargoes, subsidies, loans - indeed, the whole gamut of the world’s economic
the King has left the hall the Prime Minister speaks.
He points to the disastrous effects of falling prices, to the decline in
national incomes, and to the 30,000,000 unemployed in the world.
there is a firm note in his voice as he says that war debts “must be dealt
with” and that “Lausanne has to be completed.” At that moment I think of a
scene far different from this historic gathering.
I forget the dignity of the King’s appeal and I recall a scene in
Harlem, the negro quarter of New York.
was a year ago as I was seated in a park next to an old negro preacher, watching
the coloured children at play.
black neighbour turned to me and said, “You see dem children in dis park and
you tink dems de only people here, doan you?
Well, you’re wrong, cos dis park is full of people - not living people
like you and me - but spirits, and dem spirits is talking to us and guiding us,
and dere are millions of dem floatin’ about, and its dem what is important.”
are spirits floating about this Conference, and the most influential of them are
the millions of American farmers, workers, and unemployed who believe that the
war debts must be paid; that America must live for herself alone, and that
tariffs must be kept high.
Americans are here in this Conference hall, not in the flesh, but in the minds
of every delegate. I believe that
this is the crux of to-day’s meeting. There
is a danger that whatever the American delegates may do their plans will be
wrecked when they return to their native land.
worked at the Treaty of Versailles, but when he arrived back in the United
States he was met by a furious opposition, and his plans were thrown overboard.
understand this Conference, therefore, we must study the invisible forces which
haunt this simple and dignified hall, and recognise that all thoughts are on
what the Americans do.
the Americans consent to cancel war debts?
Will the Americans lower tariffs? Will
they co-operate or not?
at Work in United States
has far-sighted men as leaders. Norman
Davis has been brave in his speeches at Geneva, and has stretched out a helping
band to Europe. He recently
proposed to end the quarrel over the “freedom of the seas,” which has caused
so much bad blood between England and America.
Hull, Secretary of State, has been admirable in advocating the lowering of
tariffs, and is the friend of a reasonable internationalist policy.
Roosevelt himself has been outspoken against the curse of economic nationalism.
in spite of these bold leaders, there are forces in America which make one doubt
whether they will be able to carry out the policy of internationalism and low
tariffs, which is the only policy which can lead to recovery.
are those forces hovering invisibly over the delegates?
The first is the American home-town man, or Middle West farmer - honest
and brave, but who is now in misery. He
thinks that the international bankers are to blame for everything.
him the unmasking of L P. Morgan is a far greater thing than this group of
“furriners” sitting in London. His
favourite saying is, “If Uncle Sam sits at a table with Europeans he’s
sure to get his pockets picked.”
our American small-towner wants to see the war debts paid.
“They borrowed the money. Why
should we Americans pay for the war?” he says.
He, therefore, mistrusts anything the Conference can do, and demands that
Britain shall pay.
second group of spirits haunting the Conference are those of vested interests,
who will fight bitterly rather than lower tariffs.
These exist every country,
but they are particularly strong
this moment in America. Those
American delegates seated not many yards away are surely thinking: “Some
business men are going to make a big battle before they’ll let us lower
tariffs.” At this very moment,
there are people in America urging higher and higher tariffs.
third invisible force is a piece of paper with a picture of Washington and the
words “One Dollar.” The news
that the dollar fell to-day cannot be over-estimated.
Behind that one dollar note there are millions of manufacturers,
motor-car builders, cotton-growers, wheat-growers, longing to sell, their goods
abroad, and the more the dollar falls the better chance they have selling their
goods. The fall of the dollar is
bad for the export trade of the world, and it looks as if a war between the
pound and the dollar is in progress.
Feeling Against Europe.
last set of spirits who fill the minds of delegates as the Prime Minister speaks
is that of the American politicians, unscrupulous, pandering to public
prejudices. These American
politicians will never be forgotten by the American delegates, for it was they
who wrecked Wilson. They have
always been jealous the President and anxious to maintain the power of Congress.
the American delegates make too many concessions there will be passionate words
in the American Congress, and Congress nearly always wins.
In Congress the feeling against Europe is getting ever stronger.
So Roosevelt had better beware.
invisible forces are destined to play the greatest part in the Conference, and
it is tragic that at a time when only international co-operation can save the
world the driving ‘forces are more and more nationalistic and going further
away from the standpoint of the King when he said: “I appeal to you all, co-operate for the sake of the ultimate good
of the whole world.”