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THE WESTERN MAIL,  June 14th, 1933  

The World Conference -London (ii) 


Effects of Industrial Recovery Bill


By Gareth Jones.

(Our Special Correspondent at the World Conference)

 The corridors and the lobbies of the Geological Museum like the grounds around an Eisteddfod pavilion.  Old friends greet each other with “I haven’t seen you since the Lausanne Conference.”  Distinguished diplomats fight out verbally their points of view.

There plump, witty Litvinoff is joking with an old - I nearly said eisteddfodwr - Geneva habitué.  A few yards away Mr. Henderson - who looks shrunken and ill - is recalling the Disarmament Conference.  Journalists who year after year have met at the. Assembly of the League of Nations compare speeches as if they were the chief choral or the bardic chair.

It is in these corridors and not in the conference-hall that the news is to be found.  As you walk along you bear snippets of conversation – “America … War Debts … But it’s Fascism … Roosevelt. … It will, wreck the Conference. … What do they care about London . . . Will he be able to do it? … O, there’ll be a pious resolution. … Congress …The Middle West.”

The Great?

When you join a group of journalists you find that the one absorbing subject is not what M. Daladier said this morning, nor Signor Jung’s defence of sound currencies, nor General Smuts’s warning, nor the black storm clouds which darkened the sky outside when the Japanese delegate was speaking, nor even the German Foreign Minister Neurath’s vei1ed support of economic nationalism.

The great question mark is America.  America is now going through a revolution, the extent of which few people, in Europe realise. 

The country is seething with discontent, and I am assured that the misery is. desperate.  To-day I lunched almost within the shadow of the Bank of England with an able City man who, since the war, had visited, twenty-one countries to study their finances.

This expert, who is not prone. to exaggeration, said, “You do not know what hunger there is in the’ United States.  British people have no inkling, of the forces which are at play there.  I have reports which state that men are working a whole day for less than the match to get a scrap to eat. Girls are being employed for fifty hours per week for one dollar, which is 4 shillings.  There is sweated labour and starvation.”

U.S. Position Tragic

I left this conservative financier and returned to the Conference, where almost the first words I heard in the Lobby were:

“The Americans have so many troubles of their own, so much misery, that they can’t give a moment’s thought to this Conference.”  Journalists fully confirmed the tragic reports I had heard of the American situation. 

What has that to do with the Conference?  It has the power to bar any progress in London - not over the war debts question, for that is now less important, but over the question of tariffs.

The misery in the United States is making the people say, “We must live for ourselves alone.  We must plan our national life.”     

As a result America in the last few months has made many steps towards a kind of Fascism.

America’s revolution has been almost ignored in this country, for it coincided with the far more spectacular advent of Hitlerism in Germany.  But it is none the less true that Roosevelt is moving rapidly towards State planning and State control of industry.  America’s beloved “rugged individualism,” which her leaders have vaunted so often, is dead and buried and an era of American Fascism seems to be on the horizon.

What does that mean for the Conference?  It means this - that American national planning is going along the lines of economic self-sufficiency.

“The world is going smash around us.  So, let us try to live to ourselves.” That is what millions of Americans are saying.


There is now before the American congress - by the time this article comes into print it may have become law - an Industrial Recovery Bill, which definitely puts this policy of economic nationalism into practice.

This Bill will give the President great powers over American economic life and will lead to more quotas, embargoes, and tariffs, which means that the world stands before a still greater tariff war unless the Statesmen rapidly take heed.

America is far more interested in this Industrial Recovery Bill than in the London Conference, and it 1ooks as if the policy of economic nationalism now carried on in America makes the prospects for lowering tariffs exceedingly black.

That is why the word most used in the lobbies of the Conference is “America.” 








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