Mr. Runyon to Mr. Olney .
Berlin , February 16, 1895 . (Received March 2.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the German Parliament was occupied yesterday in the discussion of the proposition to request the Imperial Government to send out invitations at the earliest practicable date for a monetary conference to regulate the currency question by international agreement. The proposition was brought up at the request of 164 members of the Reichstag, representing the National Liberal, Imperial, Center, and Conservative parties.
Count Mirbach, the leader of the Conservatives and a prominent bimetallist, opened the debate in a long speech in favor of the proposition, in which he referred to the currency question as one of the most important industrial and social questions of the day, and one which could be regulated only through international agreement. He was answered by Dr. Barth (Radical), who opposed the project because it would lead to bimetallistic agitation, which would cause disturbance in industrial circles all over the world. His party, he said, saw no reason for Germany to call any such conference. If the United States or England wanted one, Germany could then decide whether she would take part.
Count Herbert Bismarck was in favor of the proposition, assuming that the Government would, of course, before issuing any invitation, consult with the cabinets of other countries. He said that if the proper time for such a conference had not yet arrived, it was bound to come before long. He referred to the efforts of the bimetallists in England and advocated the use of both gold and silver as currency.
The Social Democrats, through Dr. Schonlank, opposed the proposition, as, in their opinion, its acceptance by the Government would result to the benefit of the capitalists alone. Dr. Lieber spoke in behalf of the Center party, referring to the question as more industrial than political, supporting the proposition and expressing the hope that the chancellor would not let the occasion pass without some expression of the views of the Government. He thought that after Germany’s conduct in the Brussels conference it was her duty to take the initiative in calling one now.
The debate was closed by Prince Hohenlohe, the Imperial chancellor, in a speech, a copy of which, accompanied by a free translation, I have the honor to transmit herewith.
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