11 MAY 1929, Page 13

American Notes of the Week

(By Cable)

[The SPECTATOR hopes to publish week by week a survey of news and opinion in America, cabled from New York by our American correspondent.] AN ATTACK ON MR. ANDREW MELLON.

Although Mr. Andrew Mellon has been Secretary of the Treasury eight years a vigorous attack has now been pressed in the Senate upon his eligibility for the office. As the Senate Judiciary Committee was unable to agree upon a report on this question, the controversy is to be fought out on the floor of the Senate. The attack is purely political in motive, for Secretary Mellon enjoys the complete confidence of the country, but justifies itself upon an old law passed when Alexander Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasury one hundred and forty years ago forbidding that officer from being concerned in " the carrying on of trade and commerce." It is well known that practically all Secretaries of the Treasury have been interested as stockholders in corporations engaged in business. Secretary Mellon, like most of his predecessors, has observed most scrupulously the obligations exacted by a keen sense of honour and propriety, and this attack upon him will undoubtedly fail. The attack has, however, focussed public attention upon the antiquated character of the law and the necessity of drafting a rule in keeping with the spirit of the present law, but adapted to modern conditions ; a rule Which will protect both public interests and a conscientious official from such an attack as the present.

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