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Hugo Oehler

United States at London Confab

(August 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 39, 26 August 1933, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The World Economic Conference, just concluded at London, met at the most critical period of the world crisis. The victory of Fascism in Germany and Japanese aggression hung heavy over the conference. Between these realities and American Imperialism, the conference was unable to end satisfactorily for the leading European powers. In this situation, 1933 represents an accentuated 1913, and therefore, many countries left the conference with fear of tomorrow.

Conclusions drawn from the London Economic Conference indicate that the United States was not only able to hold its own position, it was also able to leave the gathering in a stronger position. Imperialist powers and capitalist nations do not enter peace conferences and economic conferences with any illusions about their ability to solve the “objectives” listed for public consumption. This is especially true of American Imperialism under the Roosevelt government.

The real objective of the economic conference that met at London was the imperialist struggle for points of vantage, at the expense of the other powers in the preparation for more intense economic and military wars. Peace conferences are cloaks for greater economic and military wars.

The high sounding phrases and humanitarian cloak was pierced by the reality of the economic conflicts and imperialist antagonisms at the very opening of the London Conference. Prime Minister MacDonald, in behalf of Europe, and especially in behalf of England’s hegemony over Europe raised the forbidden question of war debts. This move revealed an attempt of a European united front against American imperialism which came to London with the intention and plan to further the process of putting Europe on rations.

The powerful pressure of American Imperialism and the tremendous contradictions in Europe since Hitler took power smashed this attempted united front. This first attempt was repeated on several occasions but to no avail. The The next attempt to drive American Imperialism from her strong position was the European effort to peg up the dollar and obtain the temporary stabilization of international exchange. England was part of this bloc, half concealed and half open, nevertheless, the bloc and plan was shattered, especially after Roosevelt’s statement on this question. Next the die-hards under the leadership of France organized the Gold Bloc. This move, in the long run played into the hands of American Imperialism because it widened the gap between the French and British interests and thereby gave America a better position in this three cornered fight.

It is true that Germany played no outstanding role at the conference but the rise of Fascism to power in Germany caused a shake-up and a realignment. It contributed to the success of America against Europe.

American Imperialism went to London well armed for the battle against Europe, as well as Japan. Some of the weapons in the hands of the American representatives were pounded out in the first days of the Roosevelt administration. This move was cloaked as part of a national policy but was pointed out at that time in its true international relations in the columns of the Militant. The Banking laws and farm relief amendment, which were important international weapons as well as internal weapons were used very effectively at the conference.

America went off the gold standard, repudiated the gold clause, gave the President power to inflate currency as well as other forms of inflation and to reduce the content of the dollar by one-half. If the American representatives did not hold this threat over the London conference another story would have been written. These weapons were very effective in helping the American representatives in shattering the united front of the European powers against America. The mere threat to use some of them resulted in excellent results at London as well as within the country. The internal policy of the Roosevelt administration is an integral part of this international struggle. It is two sides of the same problem.

Economic collaboration and organized production is as hopeless as non-aggression pacts (regardless of what Litvinoff says). No one but liberals and half-wits expected such from London. America desired more from the London conference, but America obtained more than the other powers. The London conference can be summed up as a prelude to a more intense onslaught on Europe, a greater drive by America to put Europe on rations, a prelude to the imperialist world war – in which America hopes she can duplicate her role of 1914– 1918.

The Paris Soir paper summed up the World Economic Conference in the following words: “If we allow the depreciation of overseas currency to continue, their rivalry will be more than ever irresistible and our reserves will be wasted. It is only a question of time until European industires will be controlled by the United States.”

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