20 DECEMBER 1930, Page 19


[To the Editor of the Seams-ma. I SHI,—Pious resolutions by international bodies have failed dismally to secure a general reduction of tariffs, and, in fact, when once a tariff is imposed, no politician of any country (except Mr. Snowden) will face the odium incurred by its removal unless the alternative can be brought home to him as a direct threat. Our endeavour to reduce tariffs must therefore be more aggressive, and we must, if possible. secure allies.

Our natural allies are, of course, the Dominions and Colonies owing allegiance to our own King, but Joseph Chamberlain's great dream of unhampered trade in a self-sufficient Empire is now clearly impossible. May I suggest, therefore, that a fiscal alliance with a Continental country might now be considered ? The only country likely to accept such an arrangement would be Germany. If an agreement could be made for absolute Free Trade between Great Britain and Germany, with a common Customs barrier round both countries, the alliance would at once be joined by Austria, and we should have Free Trade from Aberdeen to Trieste, right through the heart of Europe.

A united offer might then be made to the Scandinavian countries, giving them the alternative of Free Trade with one hundred and fifty millions of customers, or an increase of tariffs, which would shut them of completely. The result would be a foregone conclusion, and the accumulated force of two hundred million customers could then be turned to the Balkans. Finally, we could negotiate with France, or even America.

The consequent relations with the Dominions should not be impossible of adjustment. They would probably allow to our new fiscal allies the same preference as we enjoy, in return for free access to these new European markets. This would deprive Great Britain of the full advantage of Colonial Preferences, but I think that our country would still continue to compete effectively in the Dominions when placed on an equal footing with the above mentioned European countries. —