12 AUGUST 1905, Page 3

On Tuesday a most important Blue-book was published containing the

long-awaited Report of the Royal Commission on the Supply of Food and Raw Material in Time of War. The Commission, it will be remembered, was appointed in April, 1903, and consisted of the Prince of Wales, Lord Balfour of Burleigh (who acted as Chairman), the Duke of Sutherland, Lord Burghclere, Mr. Chaplin, Professor T. E. Holland, and others, representing expert knowledge on every aspect of the question. We have dealt with the matter elsewhere, and here we may briefly summarise the main con- clusions. The Commission find that we have normally at any given time about seven months' supply of raw cotton in the country, about two months' supply, of manganese, and about seven weeks' supply of wheat and flour. As we have broadened the basis of supply, in case of war the increase in price would not be so marked as if we drew our supplies from one locality, but at the same time there would be a grave danger of a serious diminution in our food imports, if not of actual famine. The Commission discuss two possible safeguards,—a storage of food during peace, and a system of indemnifying shippers of corn at public expense. They advise that the latter be adopted in a modified form, since it would exercise a steadying effect on prices, and they recom- mend, with various reservations, the suggestion for an experi- ment in regard to storing corn in national granaries.