14 NOVEMBER 1931, Page 3

The Trade in Munitions From one point of view it

is satisfactory to hear from Lord Falmouth, chairman of the Sheffield Board of the English Steel Corporation, that armament work has diminished to a mere fleabite compared with former re- quirements. " Our hundred millions," said President Harding, in opening the Washington Naval Conference in 1921, " want less of armaments and none of war." That sentiment is certainly as general here to-day as it was in America ten years ago. But Lord Falmouth made a point of substance when he added that shareholders could not bear the burden of keeping great plants standing idle against possible future requirements, Such a burden, if it is to fall on anyone, ought to fall on the State. A disarmament agreement that would at least fix and limit those requirements would define the problem and enable it to be solved with all the factors blown. For that we must look to the Disarmament Conference. The possibly shifting demand of countries with no armaments works of their own introduces complications, but none that cannot easily be straightened out.