The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 12 (April 1, 1930)
While Naval Reduction dragged along, Lord Balfour, the big man of the 1922 Conference, died. W. R. Hearst pays him posthumous tribute. There may be significance in the revised oath of Germany's new Cabinet. In many markets buyer and seller fail to meet. Unrest, economic and political, persists.
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Cabinet's New Allegiance.
Though political matters do not come within the province of this monthly column, it is necessary to notice that, following on the Cabinet crises in France, there has been a change of Government lately in Germany. At time of writing there is no reason to believe that Government policy will be altered in Germany, any more than it was in France, by Ministerial reshuffling. But the method of applying that policy may be materially altered. Overt evidence of change is the new wording of the oath with which President Hindenburg installed the members of the Bruening Cabinet. Last time he swore in a Cabinet, the President of the Republic required loyalty to the constitution and laws. This time the Ministers pledged devotion to “the welfare of the German people, the constitution, the laws,” etc. Cablegrams reporting this change suggest that the insertion of “welfare of the German people” before the consitution means that the Government, basing its case on the popular welfare, is prepared, if necessary, to act on the people's orders (or what it assumes to be their orders) rather than on the orders of a Reichstag so split into groups as to be incapable of forming a stable Government. The cabled suggestion implies that continuity of the Streseman European policy will thus be assured—if necessary, by a dictatorship. A Hindenburg dictatorship, to preserve the Young Plan, might please Europe. But would Europe be pleased if someone whispered that a Hindenburg dictatorship might assume a Hohenzollern complexion?
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Balfour as Torpedoer!
Of a quality different from the dictatorship in Italy, the Spanish regime of De Rivera came to an end by wear and tear. De Rivera's early death softened the acrimony that surrounded the passing of his rule, and the funeral tribute in Madrid seems to have taken the sting out of the party charges of maladministration. Death has also removed another great political leader in Lord Balfour, formerly Conservative Prime Minister of Britain. The Salisbury-Balfour Governments comprise the longest Conservative Administration the present generation remembers. Its tariff leanings paved the way for the longest Liberal Administration of this century, beginning in 1906, carrying on into the war, and fading into a war coalition. Under the shadow of the Liberal regime the Labour Party developed, and Mr. Philip Guedalla has described these changes as “the British substitute for a revolution.” There was in Britain no Spanish dictatorship, nor any thought of such. The fallen Prime Minister resigned even the leadership of his own party, yet remained in politics to carry out some of the greatest constructive work of his career, embodied in the Balfour Note (international debts), the Balfour Declaration (Zionism), and the Washington Conference, where, in 1922, Lord Balfour (according page 11 to the unimpeachable W. R. Hearst) sank the American Navy!
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Conference and Death-Bed.
Balfour did not live long enough to read the exaggerated praise passed upon him by the Hearst journals. While the 1930 Naval Reduction Conference (a sequel to 1922) was struggling in London with its problems, he lay awaiting death, conscious of its approach, and, happy in the enjoyment of the music of the piano played by friends—an instrument of which he was himself a master. He was slipping into dreamland, passing beyond the reach of that still unsolved conundrum of how an island off the coast of Europe can regard European Continental armaments with the detachment and comparative unconcern with which they may be regarded in a trans-Atlantic continent or in islands lying off the farther coast of Asia. Not his was the task to be the diplomatic link between America and Japan on the one hand, and France and Italy on the other; nor was it for him to discover how the disarmament spirit of the Western Powers could be lived up to without abandoning the Mediterranean to Gaul and Italian. To the dying man the suggestion that he sank the American Navy, and the allegation that Mr. Ramsay MacDonald is sinking the British Navy, would probably have seemed equally fantastic—the hyperbole of extremists. And perhaps we had better leave it at that.
An Historic Boxing Contest.
(Photos by courtesy of the “N.Z. Free Lance” (centre), and Mr. L. Wallace)
At the Wellington Speedway's Stadium on 29th March, 1930, in the presence of a concourse of people, estimated at 17,000, the popular New Zealand Railways Fireman, Tommy Donovan, of Waitara (centre), secured a meritorious points decision over Pete Sarron (U.S.A.), in one of the most thrilling contests ever staged in New Zealand. Donovan's aggressive tactics, which have established him firmly in the esteem of boxing enthusiasts, are shewn in the above illustrations, taken during the contest.
To Hold or to Sell?
News from oversea is still full of plans for regulated marketing, but the accompaniment of falling prices has not been silenced. The authority who said two years ago that prices had reached bottom was obviously wrong, and even to-day, probably, would not care to repeat his assurance, though the nearness of various staple commodities to pre-war price-level suggests that in some respects at any rate bedrock has been reached. In rubber, one of the earliest controls, they are still investigating in the East Indies with a view to improving the forecasts of production; what the bearing and to-come-into-bearing trees will be producing in three or four years time is a little known but vital factor in policy. President Hoover, who a few years ago was very censorious of British rubber control, is wondering how far he can help the American farmer to hold wheat against the rising tide of American unemployment. A guarantee of 4/- a bushel for wheat is promised to Australian growers by the Commonwealth Government. After some dubiety, British tin producers decided to continue to try to regulate output. Conversely, British creditors have secured from San Paulo (Brazil) a promise to liquidate coffee stocks, San Paulo having apparently forgotten that liquidation is coffee's proper destiny. San Paulo ranchers’ decision “to turn to wheat growing” may interest President Hoover.