25 APRIL 1992, Page 24

A handbag?

SEASONS return, in Washington the cher- ry blossoms are out, and flapping down into Dulles Airport come the finance ministers on their spring migration. I foresee another attempt to talk the Germans into line. Of course it would suit everybody else's book, and ours in particular, if their interest rates were not so tiresomely high. Margaret Thatcher in her forceful way has been urg- ing her successor to take a handbag (or its equivalent) to that stern Dr Schlesinger at the Bundesbank. I see little point in telling the Germans how to run their affairs. If we don't like their policies, we should have some of our own. An early bird at Dulles this week was Jacques Delors, come to see the President about his country's exports of oil-seed — which, as viewed from Brussels, are holding up talks on the General Agree- ment on Tariffs and Trade. Ministers tired of these interminable talks should ask themselves whether GATT is overdue for a change at the top. For the last 12 years, its director general has been Arthur Dunkel, a worthy Swiss now ready for retirement. What it now needs is someone of interna- tional standing and personal force who can swing a mean handbag. I have just the can- didate.