ECONOMICS: Backs to the Wall

To wrestle with Britain's worsening financial plight, the conference of Commonwealth finance ministers met last week. An official later described the cheerless scene in Room D of the British Cabinet Offices: "They sat at blue-black, baize-covered tables in a hollow square, all looking inward and all with their backs to the wall." At one morning session, scheduled to begin at 10:30, a Commonwealth representative arrived ten minutes late. "Good evening," said Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Stafford Cripps, with a frosty smile. "Good afternoon," was the reply.

There was some plainer speaking....

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