1 MARCH 1930, Page 2

European Tariffs Conference The path to concerted economic action is

as arduous as the path to peace and disarmament. The essential quality for the traveller is confidence. A beginning in the creation of confidence has been made with the so-called " Tariff Truce " Conference at Geneva, of which the object is to bring Europe, at least, slowly and surely to commercial sanity by reducing hindrances to trade. On Thursday, February 20th, the Italian delegate, Signor Bottai, unfortunately went out of his way to exaggerate the difficulty of getting rid of the bilateral agreements between nations, which he said had become " a very important tradition." He even attacked the whole purpose of the Conference, which we consider a very cavalier way of treating the recommendation of last year's Assembly that " only those States should take part in the negotiations which, having regard to their special economic condition, thought that the suggested measures might allow of a fair balance between the sacrifices they would be prepared to make and the advan- tages they might secure." Other speakers took a less self-interested and less pessimistic view, and Mr. Graham, before he left Geneva, had the satisfaction of seeing a number of Committees at work on practical proposals. If certain nations are still blocking the way to economic disarmament, the Conference is at least establishing the practice of personal contacts between Ministers of Com- merce. It also makes it possible for public opinion in each country to be mobilized in favour of freer trade.