if Britain accepted the Bretton Woods plan, it would he dangerously fettered. This was the argument of Mr. C. E. Robertson, a Catholic member of the Research Committee of the Economic Reform Club, speaking on Tuesday to Carshalton Rotarians.
He envisaged us unable to put across our social security proposals, our education plans or even to keep our people in full employment it we have handed over the control of our internal policy indirectly In an international body.
Bretton Woods would set up both an International Fund and an International Bank to which members will subscribe the capital, 25 per cent. in gold and the rest in their own currency. So far, so good. But limitations are placed on members' actions Suppose our export trade gets itself into difficulties (a) because prices are too high for the purchaser; (b) because the goods are not required; (c) because of tariffs. What can we do ?
Ordinarily we can do one of two things: (a) we can reduce our standard of living; or (b) we can depreciate otir exchange. No doubt we should choose the latter. But would Bretton Woods allow this ?
Only within limits. We could depreciate our exchange—but only by 10 per cent. without consulting the fund. For a further depreciation we should have to ask permission and wait 72. hours for the decision. Further depreciation would take longer time for consideration. Meanwhile we get further and further into debt, and the fund imposes manyeneavy penalties, which may exceed 5 per cent. per annum on debtor
Suppose that a nation takes it into its own hands to rectify the position. It leaves the fund. As a consequence it finds itself boycotted. Rather than let this happen a nation would reduce its standard of living.
This discrimination against debtor nations (and we are the greatest debtor nation in the world) would transgress one of the four great freedoms—freedom front fear.
Seven great audiences, in which Polish soldiers participated, took place in September in the Vatican. Altogether about I5,000 Polish soldiers visited Rome during this month.