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Committee's recommendations were that the Government should (1) at once fix maximum prices for both home-grown and foreign wheat, (2) contract with the British farmers to grow wheat and oats for the harvest of 1917 at fixed prices, (3) negotiate with the Indian Government to secure as large an exportable surplus as possible of next year's harvest, and (4) assume still greater control over the British mercantile marine. Five members of the Committee, including Mr Prothero and Prof. Ashley, in special view of the world shortage in wheat, appended two additional recommendations for immediate application—(1) the closer milling of grain, whereby an addition of 10 per cent. of flour could be obtained; (2) an addition of 10 per cent. of maize flour to the ordinary bread flour. These members were of opinion that the bread produced by these expedients could be increased in quantity and reduced in price, and yet would remain palatable and digestible.

Accordingly on Nov. 15, before introducing his new proposals, Mr Runciman briefly reviewed the food situation of the past two years, when, as a previous speaker in the debate had bluntly put it, there had been no food problem. Now, the new fact that the Government had to face was the failure of the North American wheat crop, to counter-balance which the only available surplus to be found was in far-distant Australia. To transport this surplus, three times the amount of tonnage would be necessary, and that at a moment when ships were scarce and their numbers, owing to shortage of labour and material, could not be increased. Economy in the use of wheat and other food-stuffs was therefore absolutely necessary. The Government had appealed to the people to economise voluntarily, and had appealed in vain; indeed consumption had steadily increased. There remained, then, no alternative but to try to effect by compulsion what persuasion had failed to achieve. Mr Runciman, therefore, announced a series of permissive Orders in Council, which, under the powers given by the Defence of the Realm Act, he proposed to make operative as occasion required. First and foremost he put the appointment of a Food Controller-only a month earlier he had scoffed at the notion-in whose hands would be concentrated all the existing powers of the

Board of Trade, and whose function it would be to coordinate the work of all the subordinate Committees. Then there would be Orders, he said, to institute war bread, to fix maximum prices for wheat, flour, sugar, and certain forms of meat-all of them food-stuffs already under State control-to limit the price of milk in accordance with the cost of its production, to prevent the waste and destruction of food-stuffs, to regulate market operations in order to check unreasonable prices, to enforce returns of stocks, to requisition stocks, etc.-all the paraphernalia, in fact, of the German system.

Finally, Mr Runciman wound up his explanation of the new Government policy with an apology for the drastic measures now proposed, which very aptly marks the close of the first stage in the development of the food situation in these islands and the transition to the second stage, which was destined to be developed under a new Prime Minister and a new President of the Board of Trade.


'We have been driven,' he said, 'bit by bit against our will (and here I speak for myself, because I do not like these arrangements, if they can be avoided) to suspend the easy flow of voluntary action. We cannot depend on it now. We are bound to give increased powers to State Departments and State officials. . . . We have to abandon in some respects the old voluntary principle, to which I have long been wedded; and we may have to take steps in the way of State control, which may cause a good deal of discomfort and create discontent in some quarters. But you can have no State regulation which does not bear hardly on somebody. We have the right to ask that all our people at home should be prepared to put up with some hardship, which will be assessed and prescribed and distributed as evenly as possible, in order that those who are giving far more for the country should be allowed to reach a glorious victory.'

On Nov. 17 the new Orders in Council were published in the London Gazette. From that date onward till Mr Asquith's resignation on Dec. 5, the activities of his Government in dealing with the Food Problem were restricted to the issue by the Board of Trade of sundry orders making these permissive Orders in Council operative; no man, however, could be found bold enough to

undertake the onerous and thankless office of Food Controller. Thus, on Nov. 20, Orders were published fixing maximum prices for milk, both wholesale and retail, raising the milling of wheat from 70 to 80 per cent. (which would enable us to obtain 10 per cent. more flour) and providing for a census of the potato stock. On Nov. 26 the use of wheat for brewing was prohibited. On Nov. 29 the President of the Board of Agriculture (Lord Crawford) announced in the House of Lords the forthcoming issue of new Orders to empower the Government-with a view of increasing home production-to acquire unoccupied and common lands for allotments and market gardens. On Dec. 5 an Order was issued to impose certain restrictions on meals served in hotels and restaurants. On the same day Mr Asquith resigned.

All these Orders in Council combined had, however, not yet satisfied the Labour Party. On Dec. 7 a Conference of Trade Unions, Cooperative Societies and other Labour organisations passed resolutions demanding the State purchase of all imported essential food-stuffs, the State commandeering or control of home-products, State control of all shipping, and State control over the retail sale of all controlled articles at prices which would secure to consumers the full benefit of Government action.

By Dec. 10 Mr Lloyd George had succeeded in forming his Government, and in the long list of new Ministers appeared the name of Lord Devonport as Minister of Food. The new Ministry of Food was formed by Act of Parliament on Dec. 22. At last the Food Controller on the German model, so long demanded by the Labour Party, had become an accomplished fact; and thereby it was at last recognised-as Mr Prothero, the new President of the Board of Agriculture, expressed it-that the United Kingdom had become 'a beleaguered city.'



In the year 1812, exactly a century before the formation of the Balkan League and the destruction of the Turkish Empire in Europe, the first Treaty of Bucarest was signed, not in the Wallachian capital, but in a villa at Sinaia, by Russian and Turkish plenipotentiaries. Under the Empress Catherine II, Russia had begun to interest herself in the welfare of the oppressed Christian races in Turkey; and in the Treaty of Kainarji (1774) she had already exacted from the Sultan a general promise of protection for the Christian faith in the Ottoman Empire. The war with Turkey, which originated in the division of Europe between Napoleon and Alexander in the Treaty of Tilsit, naturally came to an end when the French Emperor turned against his ally. The conflict had been indecisive, but, by the Treaty which concluded it, Russia obtained special assurances for the good government of Serbia, Moldavia and Wallachia. These regions passed gradually out of Turkish hands, and a portion of the Greek race became free in 1829; but the condition of the population remaining under the rule of the Porte grew worse rather than better, and solemn announcements of reform, such as the Hatt-i-Shereef of Gulhané (1839), the Hatt-i-Humayoun (1856), and the "constitution" of 1876, proved to be nothing more than delusions. The efforts of the Powers in 1856 and 1878 on behalf of the suffering races were of a half-hearted character; and the Treaty of Berlin sanctioned the great diplomatic crime of the century-the retrocession to. Turkey of large portions of the Armenian and Bulgarian races newly liberated by the Treaty of San Stefano.

It is unnecessary to dwell upon the consequences of that fatal act. Not one of the statesmen who signed the Treaty can have believed in his heart that the tripartite division of the Bulgarian race would be a permanent arrangement. It could only serve for the nonce as a check to Russian designs. Under the Cyprus Convention reforms were to be carried out in the Armenian provinces, but practically nothing was done. For some years the Christian populations, exhausted by the war and hoping against hope for the realisation of the promised reforms, remained quiescent. The first shock

to the artificial structure raised at Berlin came in September 1885 when Eastern Rumelia proclaimed its union with Bulgaria. All the world expected that the Sultan would crush the revolt, and Turkish troops assembled on the frontier. But the Bulgarians were aided by British diplomacy, which had executed a complete volte face under the able direction of Sir William White; and that remarkable man, though opposed by all his colleagues, induced the Sultan to stay his hand. The danger to Bulgarian union came from the West, not the East. While Prince Alexander was hurrying all his forces to the Turkish frontier, King Milan of Serbia suddenly declared war and invaded Bulgaria. Prince Alexander's position was apparently desperate, but the Bulgarians, led by young subalterns-the chief of the staff was in his twenty-fifth year-routed the invaders and were pursuing them in the direction of Nish when the Austrian minister at Belgrade, Count Khevenhüller, appeared on the scene and imposed a cessation of hostilities. A few months later Serbian and Bulgarian plenipotentiaries and Majid Pasha, a Turkish official, met at Bucarest, where a treaty of peace was signed.

The second Treaty of Bucarest (March 3, 1886) is the shortest on record. It consists of a single clause stating that peace has been restored between Serbia and Bulgaria. The war cost Bulgaria upwards of 6000 killed and wounded and some 25 million francs, but the aggressor escaped scot-free. Austria, which had unquestionably winked at, if she had not instigated, the Serbian attack, defended the interests of her protégé. In justice to Serbia it must be stated that King Milan's adventure was far from meeting with general approval; it was recognised that the King, aware of his increasing unpopularity, sought to prop up his tottering throne by means of an easy victory. Several years later King Milan, in conversation with the writer, gave an interesting and impressive account of his experience during these stormy days and of the motives of his action. He was in Vienna when the news of the Bulgarian revolution reached him; he started at once for Belgrade, where all was excitement and confusion, and put himself at the head of the national movement for the defence of the principle of 'equilibrium' and the sanctity of treaties.

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