Like the panem at circenses which the government has provided for the public in ringmaster Pecora and his fawning troupe of agile performers, J. P. Morgan and Kuhn, Leeb, the World Economic Conference has accomplished nothing and, though far more significant, is much less entertaining. The present impasse points to the fact that the Conference will see nothing more constructive done than the Geneva disarmament committees, which are already doomed by air incongrous plan emanating from Washington to give the United States the largest navy in the world. It is such contrary turns that bewilder the people about the real aims of the administration.
The program for the gathering at London which the preparatory committee spent several months in assembling has been abandoned to consider the pressing question of currency stabilization. The President's constant refusal to peg the dollar has produced violent condemnation abroad and confusion at home, although there are excellent reasons for his negative attitude. It is obvious that when the inflationists in Congress empowered Roosevelt they intended prices to rise higher than they have so far, and that the best way to settle business at a higher level is to let the dollar fall against foreign currency of its own accord until it stands near seventy cents.
This, however, does not mean that our delegates sailed knowing in advance that they were going to refuse stabilization. The attitude which they are now stubborn in seems rather to be a sudden shift caused in part by the unexpected results of recent measure. It is difficult to understand why the President should not accept the offer of gold-standard countries who wish to secure our money at the same rate we are waiting for, and why the Federal Reserve is tacitly encouraged to operate in foreign exchange to support the dollar when it obviously cannot influence the franc or pound with a handful of Austrian paper totalling about seven millions.
If we persist in turning down the overtures of the powers who will not discuss anything else until the monetary question is settled, we will undoubtedly win our somewhat obscure end, but it will mean forfeiting time that could be employed in the discussion of vital issues like tariff barriers and risking an isolated trade position.