ENGLAND'S GIGANTIC TASK.
Mr Harry G. Britain is a recognised missionary of Empire and of 'AngloAmerican comity. He has recently com- 1 pleted a tour of the United States, dming wluoh he addressed a number of public meetings and endeaYored -to bring about happier relations between England and our transatlantic cousins. He is also,a member' of the Empire Resources Development Committee, an organisation which is likely to prove an important factor in, bringing about Imperial reconstruction after the war. As to the doings of this committee, Mr Brittain is reported in a recent issue of the Sheffield ' Telegraph' to have said This committee must be distinguished , from the Dominions Royal Commission appointed by the late Government, with Lord D'Abernon as cliairman. which has been collecting information concerning the resources of the Dominions, but lias not yet reported. The Empire Resources Committee, though unofficial, is a still stronger and more representative body. Lord Milner presided at its first meeting in/the offices of the Rhodes Trust. Mr Hodge,, the Minister for Labor, sits on it. So do Sir Starr Jameson, such famous proConsuls of our Empire as Loid Selborne, Earl Grey, Lord Islington, and Sir Arthur Lawley. Commerce at home is represented by Sir Algernon Firth (president of the Association of Chambers of Comment), by Mr H. .Wilson Pox, of the Chartered Company, and by Mr Vassai'-Smitih. tlie chairman of Lloyd's Bank. • The new Government have other members on the committee besides Mr Hodge. Mr lan Macpherson (Under-Secretary for War) sits on it—of course, quite unofficially ; and so does Sir L. Worthington Evans. Imperialist M.P.s sucli As Major Astor, Mr Bigland—a shrewd Liverpool business man—and Sir William Bull and Mr Page C-roft are working on it with a Labor stalwart like Mr Seddon. Most interesting of all is the inclusion of the little group of men who have done so much to recreate Irish agriculture and industry in the past 30 years—Lord Diinraven, Mr Moreton Ereweii, and Sir Horace Plunkott. Two of these have been in close touch with the economic expansion of America and the Empire in our time; all three know as much as any man alive of how State aid, scientific organisation, and popular effort can combine waste lands and landless men into a prosperous country. This, then, is the Empire Resources Development Committee. . '' The framing of an Imperial Constitution is, as you know," Mr Brittain
added. an -extraordinarily intricate proposition, and at the moment I prefer not to put upon paper my thoughts on it.. But there is another most interesting Imperial subject which' is coming to the fore at once—the utilisation of tlie resources of the
Empire after the war; imd I sliould like to call the attention of Sheffield to the proposals of our committee. Our contention is simply this, and I think it ought to receive the attention of every taxpayer. We hold that the scientific development of tlie resources of the Empire, especially perhaps of the tropical Empire, undertaken jointly by the . Mother Country and the Dominions, offers the only possible .way. of avoiding a permanent taxation mncli at the present level. If we are, after the war,, to reduce.,tlie Income '.Pax from 5s in the £, and incidentally to remove what would ■ be a, total bar to the investment of foreign oapital here, we must remodel our finance on new lines. Taxation wil not pav off tlie £4,000,000,000 of debt which, we "shall owe, nor will it relieve us of the necessity of meeting our foreign borrowings and the present sale of foreign securities by a vigorous effort to increase our exports. Our scheme proposes to do all. these things by capitalising, rendering liquid, and developing the resources of the Empire." "You propose that- tlie Empire should, go into trade ?"—" We propose to develop- the
Empire on a partnership basis, in .agreement with the Dominions. We can provide the capital, often the ideas, and in many cases the men to develop the estates. The -undeveloped resources of the Empire would soon, if properly handled, pay off this war. The resources commanded by the 110,000,000 people in the United 1 States are estimated at £40,000,000,000. Ours arc far greater." " Then you are not proposing 3 Government trading monopoly, say, in the palvn oil trade, such as the Dutch used to have in their East Indian plantations? You are thinking rather of the Imperial Go?eminent taking up the part played by British chartered companies, land companies, .an<i investment trusts in developing the Do- - minions and Crown colonies?"—" Those a:the lines on which we should work. Bui you must remember the wonderful profit: already made by direct State action 1 taketo develop economic resources. Tab? ihfSuez Canal, into which we put £4,000,000. It is now worth £30,000,000 to £40,000,000. Take the Assuan Dam. That cost'-abo-i £5.000,000, and has put about £100,000,000 into the increased wealth of Egypt. But in the. case of the Assuan Dam the proa!--all go to the Egyptians." "Hasn't it been a principle o' our Empire policy for . the last century that surpluses in a -colo-nV could not be diverted for the British taxpayers' benefit?"—" Yes; but we are onh going to undertake this scheme as a unitc-c Empire. All the Dominions will agree, ano will benefit. It is to all their interests to clear off the War Debt, as well as to -develop their resources. Besides, you must remember that we are not taking trib'.H.<-. but only our share of the profits in a business partnership. These oil and nut alexin Nigeria, to take an instance, can cnlv be developed by the capital and enterprise of the people at Home." "What schemes have your committee''specially examined?"—" There is one, which Mr Moreton Frewen put before vs. for a vast Imperial farm in the Canadks North-west. Let the Empire and the Demi niou-.-take'oyer great stretches of:lar..-j there. ; t ,They are in .a ' bull' market, which nothing can > upset. America" wil] soon cease to k a grain exporter, as in the next-15 years there will be 30 to 40 million more inliabitants in the United States, and they will have to be fed.."
Permanent link to this item
ENGLAND'S GIGANTIC TASK., Mount Ida Chronicle, Volume XLV, Issue XLV, 4 May 1917
ENGLAND'S GIGANTIC TASK. Mount Ida Chronicle, Volume XLV, Issue XLV, 4 May 1917
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.