A shrewdly reasoned diagnosis and prescription for the economic ills of the world was approved last week by slightly more than 1,000 economists, each a practicing as well as a theoretical expert. They prescribed in the character of delegates to the League of Nations International Economic Conference in Geneva (TIME, May 16 et seq.). They were perfectly aware, being experienced business doctors, that the world will no more take their prescription as directed than will the average fat person keep to a diet.
Diligent, the 1,000 economists finished drafting their diagnosis-prescription into a voluminous report last week and rapidly voted it through by delegations-none voting against, and only the Turkish delegates abstaining. Lastly the delegates indulged in a final round of complimentary speeches, adjourned, dispersed.
Russian Blunder. The Soviet Delegation, headed by onetime Prince Valerian Obolenski Ossin-ski, made a move of great stupidity last week, which some correspondents even more stupidly misrepresented as an act of diabolic cunning. Green at diplomacy, the Russians studiously entertained various members of the U. S. delegation during the conference period, and then intimated to newsgatherers last week that a big U. S. loan was being amicably discussed. Allegedly the purpose of this move was to secure better terms for a loan which the Russians were negotiating with German financiers. The Germans, it was hoped, would take their cue from the alleged new and liberal attitude of the U. S. toward making loans to Russians.
As might have been expected, the chief U. S. delegate, Henry Mauris Robinson, immediately announced: "All meetings between members of the American and Russian delegations, whether of a social nature or on the conference floor, have been courteous and correct; but they have not been with the object of negotiations between the two nations. So far as the American delegation has known, there have not been any negotiations concerning loans at Geneva between any American and Russian citizens."
Prince Valerian Obolenski Ossm-ski, perhaps vexed, took occasion to refer to the League of Nations in his later set speech as "an instrument of capitalism and a cloak of imperialist powers for crushing weaker nations." Fortunately, however, the Russians did not go to the length of voting against the conference's report. Had they done so, the report would have been thrown out (under League unanimity rule) and the whole accomplishment of the Conference would have been nullified.
South-American Protest. Of great significance was a single sentence in the final set speech of the Colombian delegate, Senor Variaez. Said he: "In the last five years one hundred millions of American dollars have been invested in Colombian securities, but certain interventions by the American State Department in Latin America have inspired us with apprehension leading us to wish that our securities will come to be more largely quoted in other markets."
In a word, the Colombian delegation went on record against the "Monroe Doctrine," welcoming European influence and capital into Latin America as an antidote to U. S. supremacy there.
Report. What did the delegates prescribe? Having no power to act, they recommended chiefly: