FINLAND: Wickersham Björkenheim

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While editors, lecturers, friends-of-the-President and other Washington soothsayers still struggled to interpret the Delphic Wickersham report in Washington on Prohibition (TIME, Feb. 2), public attention was fixed briefly last week on the world's only other Prohibited republic, Finland. Finland too is troubled with speakeasies, bootleggers, hijackers, et al. Finland too is faced with a Presidential election in the near future. Finland too has a growing groundswell of political Wetness. And not unnaturally, Finland too last week acquired a Wickersham Commission, officially a "committee of experts to investigate thoroughly the social conditions created by Prohibition and suggest necessary amendments with a view to furthering temperance."

Like President Hoover, Finland's President Relander appointed no hot-blooded youngster to head his Prohibition commission but sapient, 75-year-old Edvard Björkenheim, counselor to the Ministry of Agriculture. Ready at hand for Wickersham Björkenheim were Wet statistics released by the Government last week. During 1930 Finland, with a population of 3,600,000, convicted 11,147 men and 2,390 women of violating the Prohibition law. Police confiscated 1,052,486 litres of illegal spirits.

Lest Finns think the new Prohibition commission a mere pre-election gesture President Relander finished off the week by approving a bill to increase the alcoholic content of beer from 1.6% to 2.25% by weight (2.80% by content),* sent the bill on its way to the Diet where a somewhat similar measure was defeated six weeks ago.

* The Wickersham Commission by implication set 2.75% as a legal degree of alcohol for U. S. beer when it said that 2.75% would never satisfy those who had "developed a taste for intoxicating beverages."