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Imperial Conference. A conference of the nations of the British Commonwealth will meet in Ottawa, July 21. Last week the House of Commons cheered Jim Thomas when he threatened that Great Britain will "take steps" to discipline the Free State by refusing to make any trade concessions to President de Valera at the Ottawa Imperial Economic Conference. A hint that "retaliatory tariffs" against Free State products might be levied brought fresh cheers. Debate on the Irish Question last week was on a purely emotional plane. Setting President de Valera aside, what can the Mother Country and her other Dominions do at Ottawa? Last week Stanley Baldwin, Conservative Leader, warned that he as the Chief Delegate of Great Britain will expect "trade reciprocity" from the Dominions.
"The Dominions must not think we are not grateful for the trade preferences they have already given us," Mr. Baldwin told the Commons, "but they must not fail to realize what a tremendous thing this free entry we have now given them is.* . . . Certain Dominions will be asked at Ottawa to consider whether they have not gone a little too fast in industrial development, both for their own good and for that of the Empire as a whole."
This speech, which created a furor of excitement in the House, showed clearly that Baldwin of Baldwin's Ltd. (iron & steel) will go to Ottawa as the special champion of families which like his own have been leaders in British industry for generations. With the weapon of a tariff threat he will try to force the Dominions to abate their locally popular programs of fostering their own "infant industries."
Empire Currency? In Ottawa last week Canadian Senator Alexander Duncan McRae proposed that the Imperial Conference establish an "Imperial Bank" backed by the gold reserves of the whole Empire (which he estimated at $900,000,-ooo) and issue an "Imperial Currency."
"Such a system," cried Senator McRae, "would carry with it immediately the position of leadership in world exchange. . . . Our Imperial Currency might come in time to be adopted as the currency of the entire world."
* Daughter Megan, Son Gwilym and the son's brother-in-law, Major Goromvy Owen. —The present London Government has erected a brand new tariff wall around Great Britain (TIME, May 2) but this tariff applies to foreign not Dominion goods.