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GREAT BRITAIN: Parliament’s Week: Dec. 31, 1934

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The Lords:

¶ Approved 239-to-62 the Linlithgow India Report already approved by the Commons (TIME, Dec. 24), thus providing His Majesty’s Government with a full mandate to draft its own act giving India moreliberal status. In highly premature alarm, the Marquess of Salisbury,a Tory diehard, accused the Government of intending to grant Indiafull Dominion Status, “the ideal of Gandhi!”

The Commons:

¶ Were startled by a sheaf of recommendations from the Law Revision Committee, such as that a British husband should no longer be held responsible for his wife’s naked torts.* The London Times approved the report as “simple, logical and in accord with the equalitarian spirit of the age.”

¶ Cornered ex-Pacifist, ex-Socialist James Ramsay MacDonald and forced him to admit that his National Government has no intention of ruling against possession of armament stocks by its members, not to mention the Royal Family. Not without reason the harassed Prime Minister observed: “It is impossible to differentiate between many munitions firms and firms producing material for use in peace time.” After brushing aside with irritation an offer from U. S. Armsquisitor Nye to dump into his lap all dirt discovered by the U. S. Senate which could be thrown at Britons, Mr. MacDonald announced that a Royal Commission of Armament Inquiry will shortly be formed with full powers, full authority to accept or reject Senate dirt.

¶ Rambled through a free-for-all monetary debate in which the Government was besought by M. P.’s of various factions to attempt pound-dollar stabilization. Replied the Empire’s beak-nosed budget balancer, Chancellor of the Exchequer Neville Chamberlain: “[We] must wait until there is such a change of price levels as may bring the dollar and the franc into greater harmony with one another, which I understand is the policy of the United States to bring about and to which I, for one, wish all possible success.”

This amounted to a hint that President Roosevelt is trying to force the franc into devaluation, caused U. S. Treasury officials to smirk that uncertainty as to the future of the franc appears to exist. From Paris French Premier Pierre Etienne Flandin crisply volleyed the issue back by declaring that the franc would stand its ground until the pound and dollar got together.

¶ Jumped to the conclusion that Great Britain may soon recognize Japan’s puppet Empire of Manchukuo when London’s Conservative Press received with acclaim last week a” rabidly pro-Manchukuo report of 12,000 words turned in by the British trade mission to Manchukuo under Wool Tycoon Lord Barnby. Reputedly the Barnby commissioners bagged $40,000,000 worth of Japanese orders for steel alone. Cried the Tory Morning Post: “Manchukuo is a permanent fact to which the world must accommodate itself, whether it likes it or not. No useful purpose is to be served by preserving the diplomatic fiction that it is still formally a part of China.”

Busy preserving this fiction last week were a U. S. and a British consul. In Hsinking, raw boomtown capital of the puppet Empire, they called upon Manchukuoan officials presumably to protest against Manchukuo’s confiscatory oil monopoly (TIME, Nov. 5), treated them as persons, not as officials of unrecognized Manchukuo.

*I. e., for her wrongs not connected with contracts, Today a vindictive British wife can ruin her husband by committing such naked torts aslibel, slander, trespass and nuisance.

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