19 JUNE 1947, Page 1


0 NE inevitable result of the Marshall offer is that all eyes are turned to the American Congress and people to see how they are taking it. It would certainly be over-optimistic to assert that events in the past week have been entirely favourable. Demo- II opinion has not yet rallied to the cause with any enthusiasm. From the Republicans there is an ominous silence broken only by the pronouncement of Mr. Herbert Hoover to the effect that exports have lately been so high as to be dangerous, that heavy imports will be equally dangerous, and that any future relief supplies should be directed only to those countries whose political systems are approved in America. That is not a promising start. Nor does recent activity on domestic measures give any firm assurance that the current of majority opinion is yet flowing in the direction of wider international responsibilities. The Tax Reduction Bill, which would have made nonsense of most of the schemes for international aid, had to be vetoed by the President, and even then the House of Representatives only failed by two votes to secure the two-thirds majority necessary to over-ride the veto. The Wool Bill which has already slowed up the Geneva Trade Conference and could wreck it completely, has been approved by the House and it seems likely that Mr. Truman will have to veto that too. The Labour Bill, although it is aimed at a tightening of discipline and the avoidance_ of further strikes such as that which has now closed all East Coast and Gulf ports, will probably produce such confusion in the labour market that produc- tion will be handicapped. It is pretty certain to be passed in any case. And so the story goes on. Yet the pendulum may swing in the Administration's favour at the critical moment. This would not be the first time that the yells of the politicians and the will of the people had been opposed to each other. The crucial test will soon come. . Congress must decide before June 3oth whether to main- tain the controls on imports and exports without which any large programme of international aid will not work. An adverse decision would be the worst possible blow to the world's faith in America.