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THE WESTERN MAIL,  June 15th, 1933  

The World Conference -London (iii) 



The Chancellor On Need for Lower Tariffs and Higher Prices.


All the world likes a little fighter, and whether the hero is David against Goliath or the small boy against, the school bully, he always has the sympathies of the crowd.  That is why minute Herr Dollfuss, who as Austrian Chancellor, is playing a similar part in European politics as the, Welsh Bantams did on the world war battlefield, received such a warm welcome this morning.  He began the third day of the World Economic Conference with a short speech which referred to Austria’s sound financial policy in balancing her Budget.

As he quoted the poem, “The best man cannot live in peace if his wicked neighbours cannot leave him in peace;” members of the Conference thought of the plucky fight which little Dollfuss is carrying on against Hitler and of the blows which the, German Nazis are dealing Austria by preventing German tourists from crossing the border into Austrian Territory.

Dollfuss is hitting back with vigour and is stamping upon Hitlerism in his little country.  As he was; speaking a German journalist whispered in my ear, “The secret police have just arrested the Austrian Military Attaché in Berlin!“


The background to the first speech this morning was, therefore, the economic and moral was between Germany and Austria, as a result of which Dollfuss had to return Vienna to-day.

“Now begins the struggle for leadership, said an American to me as the Chancellor of the Exchequer began his speech.  “Who will win? Britain or America?”

Mr. Neville Chamberlain’s message ‘was that we must get back to the gold standard, ‘but that we could not do this unless there was a rise in prices and unless there was a lowering of tariffs.  That might take sometime.  There was one thing which must be done immediately, the Chancellor said - that~ was the stopping of the fluctuation of the exchanges.  It was time ‘hat the dollar and the pound should stop jumping up and down, in the view of the British delegation.

Mr. Chamberlain also urged that tariffs should be reduced by agreements between two countries or more.


At three o’clock prompt the American Secretary of State (Mr. Cordell Hull) made a vigorous attack on economic nationalism, but it was deprived of practical purpose because he said not a word about the war debts, and because, while the American leaders are sincere in their support of international co-operation, their ideals are being swept away at home by a wave of isolationism.

As Secretary Hull was speaking two familiar figures crept into the press seats, and I was wondering where I had seen them before.  Then I realised that they were” Jimmy” Walker, ex-Mayor of New York, and his wife, Betty Compton.  When an American journalist introduced me to them afterwards “Jimmy” was trying to write a report of the Conference for the Hearst Press.  “You’re lucky to be out of Russia,” he said, with a smile.  “Jimmy” Walker and Betty Compton seem like fish out of water in this solemn conclave of statesmen.


After talking to this typical representative of New York politics I went to listen to his opposite, namely, the representative of the Soviet Union, M. Litvinoff.  The Soviet Foreign Minister is liked and admired in all international gatherings, for he is frank and witty, and tells the world exactly what he thinks of it.

The hall was crowded and all expected “fireworks” but none came, for M. Litvinoff was mild and guarded.  He made no open reference to the British embargo on Soviet goods.

If the Soviet Union were given markets, for their exports and credits, ‘he promised about £250,000,000 of orders to the world: but this offer was received with scepticism.  The bright picture he painted of the Soviet Union was, based on Soviet statistics, which are unreliable, and was intended to serve as propaganda rather than a real contribution to the Conference.

The events of the day brought out clearly the rivalries in the world; the struggle between Austria and, Germany behind Dollfuss’s speech; the Anglo-American differences over dollars and debts, behind the speeches of Mr. Chamberlain and Secretary Hull; and behind M. Litvinoff’s words, the antagonism between two systems - Capitalism and Communism. 


Speaking of the World Conference, he said he had listened to the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, and there had been a good deal of complaint that he had said nothing.  He, (Mr. Lloyd George) saw a reason why.  There were lots of people behind him watching every word he said lest he should commit himself in a way such as would interfere with some protected industry.

The same thing was happening in France, where M. Herriot was in the same position.  President Roosevelt had said that he hoped they could effect an interchange of commodities.

“What commodities,” he asked - “wheat - ask Mr. Bennett; cattle - ask Mr. Brooks; butter and cheese ask Mr. Coates of New Zealand.  Ask anybody except the British House of Commons.  We were completely tied hand and foot before ever we entered the bargaining group.”

Had the Government any plans for unemployment?  He had been looking for any indication that anybody in authority was thinking out the problem of national planning.  Could they tell him from a study of the Prime Minister’s speeches what his plans were? 

“Tariffs,” said Mr. Lloyd George, “were not a plan.  We were undertaking the leadership of the world conference.”  He proceeded, when, he supposed, the questions of war debts, tariffs, restrictions, and quotas would be dealt with.  He presumed the question of the effect of mechanisation upon labour would also be a vital issue.

No Plans

Had anyone heard what were the plans or proposals the Government were going to submit on those vital issues upon which the future of the world might depend, not merely for ten years, but for generations?  What were they?

“No, there are no plans; I regret it” said Mr. Lloyd George.

The Liberal programme had been before the country, and they must go forward not shamefacedly but with vigour.  Liberalism, be the party great or small, had its duties, still to God and man, and part of that duty was to rouse the conscience of Britain to its obligations to those citizens who were dwelling in darkness and despair.



The text of the Notes exchanged between Great Britain and America on the war debt was issued as a White Paper last night as follows:

Telegram from Sir Ronald Lindsay to Sir. John Simon.

WASHINGTON, June 10, 1933.

Following Note received from United States Government, dated June 9 (begins):

“I am requested by. Secretary of: the Treasury to notify you that 75,960,000 dollars interest is due and payable on June 15, 1933, on account of your Government to, United States, pursuant to debt agreement of June 19, 1923.  The debt agreement of June 19, 1923, requires 30 days advance notice in case your Government desires to make payment in obligations of United States issued since April 9, 1917, but I am requested by Secretary of the Treasury to advise you that be will be glad to waive the requirement of 30 days advance notice if your Government wishes to pay in that manner.”

Telegram from Sir John Simon to Sir R. Lindsay, Washington.

 Foreign Office, June 13, 1933.

Following is text of Note, which you should communicate to-day to U.S. Government: … Juncture would inevitably be judged to mean that no progress whatever had been made towards such a settlement, and would, therefore, deal a damaging blow at the confidence of the delegates.

“In the circumstances, and in view of their action last December, his Majesty’s Government had hoped that the United States Government would have been able to accede to the request of his Majesty’s Government to postpone the payment of the June instalment pending the discussion of war debts as a whole since, however, this does not appear to have been found possible, his Majesty’s Government are obliged to: decide upon their course of action.

“Such a decision must, in any case, be of an extremely difficult character; and in considering it, his Majesty‘s Government have felt, their deep responsibility, not only to their own people, but to whole world, which is awaiting the deliberations and recommendations off Conference with the utmost anxiety..." 

[The rest of the article is lost.] 







Gareth Jones: A Manchukuo Incident



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