19 OCTOBER 1929, Page 13

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The Senate tariff debates continue to range far and wide, recent general topics of discussion being the proposal for granting independence to the Philippines and the question as to whether Customs clerks are competent persons to be entrusted with the censorship of art and literature. The Philippines matter was not decided so much upon its merits as upon the question of the propriety of including it in a tariff debate at all. It is none the less interesting to note that 36 out of 81 Senators went on the record in favour of inde- pendence, while others promised to do so when and if the subject is debated in its own right. Some of the converts to independence, of course, are actuated frankly not by any belief in it in principle, but by their desire to impose tariffs upon the imports of Philippine sugar. The censorship debates yielded only modified comfort for the advocates of freedom. •Customs clerks, the Senate decided, should no longer be arbiters of the " obscene," but their power to exclude the " seditious " is confirmed. The fight against this clause is to continue, for the decision, like all those taken by the Senate on the Tariff Bill, is subject to later review after conference with the House. The general position of the Tariff Bill is so entangled now that nobody knows what will happen then or subsequently.