The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 3 (July 1, 1930)
America's Weighty Word—Navy and Tariff Issues—Voices from the Grave—Banks' Lifebuoy to Industries—More Air Conquest.
As these lines are being written it is cabled that the first step has been taken in the long-awaited decision of the United States Senate concerning the London.
Europe Controls the Accelerator.
Naval Treaty. By sixteen votes to four it is stated, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved the Treaty, creating the impression that it will now be ratified by the United States. If so, one or two shrewd prophets will have to admit a mistake. The argument of these prophets is that the United States Government started out in the first place to agree with the British Government on a naval tonnage total at which the British and the American navies should reach parity. The lower the tonnage the less U.S.A. would have to spend in building up. But Prime Minister MacDonald's disposition to accept Anglo-American parity on a low total tonnage was conditional on the acceptance by France and Italy of tonnages low enough to enable Britain (who is a European as well as an Atlantic-Pacific Power) to preserve the American understanding. France and Italy refused to come in on that platform, with the result that Anglo-American parity is attainable under the three-Powers section of the London Naval Treaty at a figure higher and more costly than the Americans had hoped. Moreover, even that figure may move upward (under the “moving platform” clause) if Britain deems her hand to be forced hereafter by the naval building of the Continental Powers.
American annoyance with the high tonnage of the parity figure, and with its lack of fixity, was deemed by the prophets to foreshadow that the Senate would wreck this
An Echo of Versailles
Hoover Treaty, as years ago it wrecked the Woodrow Wilson Treaty. It will be remembered that, in the peace negotiations at Versailles, Wilson agreed to pay the price of French co-operation—an Anglo-American guarantee to protect France against aggression. France thereupon withdrew her claim to the left bank of the Rhine (which claim Foch had declared to be a military necessity), and naturally considered herself betrayed when the U.S. Senate rejected the guarantee. The passage of years finds the French price much the same as at Versailles, only at the London conference it was called a “consultative pact” instead of a guarantee. Though U.S. Secretary of State Stinson spoke of it favourably in London—and even spoke similarly in America a week or two ago—President Hoover would not risk Wilson's fate by putting it in the London Naval Treaty. That is to say, he refused to buy a real naval reduction at the price set by France. Even so, the Senate's wrath was still feared. That is why the cabled report of the vote of the Senate Committee is of high importance.
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In so far as it failed, the failures of the London Naval Conference are clearly heirs in the page 10 direct line to the Versailles failures. And, as if to drive home this tendency of history to repeat
Being Dead, Yet Speaketh.
itself, there has lately been published a posthumous book by Clemenceau, probably a reprisal to a criticism by Foch, published after Foch's death and authorised by Foch, although not written with Foch's own hand. Foch is on the old familiar story that Clemenceau, by political bungling, lost for France that left bank of the Rhine that her soldiers had won for her. (Other countries' soldiers, too.) To this Clemenceau feels compelled to reply that he was sold by the Allies, who failed to ratify the triple guarantee. Mr. Wickham Steed concisely sums it up:
Foch, and those who thought with him, could mock at the faith Clemenceau had placed in England and the United States. Clemenceau's bitterness against American post-war policy, and especially against Mr. Lloyd George … . breaks out on page after page of his book.
And French politicians who have succeeded Clemenceau are not likely to forget. Certainly Tardieu, at the London Naval Conference did not forget.
* * *
The world has been waiting during the month for another United States decision, the final enactment of the new tariff. On the whole, it has turned out to be
Tariffism and an Election.
even higher than was expected. Thus the ball has been set rolling to invite “retaliation” and “reprisal.” These words, it seems, are being avoided in the Canadian election campaign, but that campaign is being profoundly influenced by United States tariffism, and both the main parties are carefully feeling their way up to the polling booths, due to open on 28th July. After then—but hardly before—there may be some chance to judge what the reaction of the United States tariff on the Canadian tariff is likely to be, how the other Empire units will be affected by both tariffs, and particularly the effect on New Zealand dairy produce of the cross-currents set up by new American duties on Canadian milk and cream, and by the demand of the Canadian farmer for more protection against imports of butter, etc. A renewal of the price-break on the New York Stock Exchange has to be noted, also a new break in wheat prices. Chicago now quotes in cents.
It is not often that a company is floated in shares of £100,000 each. Sixty of these shares go to make up the six million sterling capital of the Bankers' Industrial
Surgical Work in Industry.
Development Company, the registration of which was recently announced by the British Government. British banks and big financial institutions are the shareholders, and the face value of the shares is a fairly good indication that they will not be gambled on the Stock Exchange. What, then, is the purpose of this peculiarly capitalised company? Primarily schemes of reconstruction in British basic industries. An industry may suffer from over-capitalisation (too many companies, too much dead capital, or both), from an insufficiency of efficient plant, from an excess of inefficient plant, and from a lack of organised policy. The purpose of the new company is not to come to the rescue of the distressed companies individually, but to help them in groups if they come forward with a group scheme of industrial reconstruction or reorganisation or “rationalisation” (blessed word!) that, through its economies, technical merits, and courage in de-watering watered capital accounts may win the approval of the Bankers' Industrial Development Company.
* * *
No State guarantee, the British Government explains, attaches to this company. It exercises no veto power upon schemes of “rationalisation”—let us call it R. for short—other than those
The Magic of “R.”
that are submitted for its approval. It is in no sense a Court of Arbitration for distressed capitalists, and it cannot prevent any R. scheme from being capitalised through other channels. But its approval should be a hallmark and a great help, both direct and indirect, in the raising of capital for industries that recognise their own plight and are equal to the self-surgery that the situation requires. To say that is to admit right away that the initiative in R. must come from within—not outside—the industry. A money bandage is not of much use unless the surgical work itself is sound. As one read of this British attempt to align the banks and the manufacturers (without destroying the authority of the latter) the mind flashes back to Henry Ford's fight with the American financiers in the post-war reconstruction, as told in his “My Life and Work.” But R. is now in the air, and not every manufacturer is able to secure it by his own unaided effort. It has both its political and industrial enemies. Mr. Maxton “scorns industrial and political leaders who lend page 11 themselves to R. as a means of curing unemployment and poverty.”
* * *
While the London reviewers were poring over Lord Birkenhead's book, “The World in 2030, A.D.,” with its anticipation that airplanes flying at 50,000 feet will move at 600
Getting Above Ourselves.
miles an hour through the rarified atmosphere, Colonel Lindbergh had already moved up several storeys (or should one write strata?) and had put up a new time-record for the United States trans-Continental flight by flying at over 14,000 feet. Though Lindbergh wisely pointed out, after his flight, that it was too early to draw conclusions, the quest for air-routes above the storm-planes has now definitely begun. Birkenhead builds so much on high flying that he even talks of an expedition to Mars. The world did not step out quite in that direction while his pages were going to press, but it did get on the trail of what is hoped to be a new planet. Few responsible writers in the Old World treat this American claim with the levity simulated by some contemporary writers in New Zealand. A month after his first announcement, the Director of Lowell (Arizona) repeated his belief that the trans-Neptunian object shown on the plate is a planet, not a comet. Dr. J. Jackson, of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, writes that “the orbit is that of a comet, but the appearance is that of a planet.” That is to say, the body appears on the plate sharply, not with an appearance of nebulosity.
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The re-appearance of Lindbergh in pioneer (altitude) flying seems to have been the signal for the re-appearance of the evergreen Kingsford Smith. His aim was
Globe-Girdling Southern Cross.
a grander east-to-west crossing of the Northern Atlantic than that of the German-Irish flyers (Koehl and Fitzmaurice), who in 1928 were rather lucky in finding the Labrador island, Greenly. In personality Lindbergh and Kingsford Smith have little in common, but both have the “will to victory” in the air, and both have made history. In conquering the Atlantic on “westward-ho” lines the Australian has not only done a thing big in itself, but has cleared the main obstacle to the completion of a Southern Cross girdle round the globe. In Australia, Miss Amy Johnson has been gathering the fruits of her success. In England another gallant contender, Sir Henry Segrave, fastest motorist and motor boatist, lost his life in raising the world's record for motor craft on the classic waters of Windermere. A Japanese Consular official in San Francisco forecasts a trans-Pacific airship (Zeppelin) service between Japan and the United States.
Executive and District Engineers, N.Z.R., 1930.
(S. P. Andrews, photo.)
Back row (left to right): Messrs. P. H. Moray (Invercargill), J. McNair (Christchurch), C. M. Benzoni (Dunedin), H. L. P. Smith (Ohakune), W. H. Beasley (Wanganui), W. R. B. Bagge (Wellington). Sitting: J. K. Lowe (Auckland), W. R. Davidson (Asst. C.E.), F. C. Widdop (C.E.), A. S. Wansborough (Designing Engineer), G. J. Bertinshaw (Inspecting Engineer).