One of the most significant developments in recent months is taking place here at the present time! Representatives of an economically hard-pressed foreign nation are making desperate efforts among Government and business leaders to gain for that nation a more favorable trading position with the United States.
Employing what to all practical purposes is amounting to high pressure tactics, these representatives are running around the corridors of Washington offices in an almost panicky fashion. Never before has Washington seen such activity.
All of this has happened since Secretary of State Hull indicated that he had turned thumbs down on a trade agreement with Germany, at least for the time being. This was less than three weeks ago. Apparently it had the German government worried, for since that time, representatives sent here especially from Germany have been doing considerable conferring with United States government officials and business leaders.
New York business interests have been paving the way for these gentlemen to meet with Washington officials. The long distance telephone has been working overtime. Telegrams have been fired freely. Its a grand old race. The stakes are the biggest ever fought for.
That Germany is frantic in its efforts to engage in trade with the United States is seen from the method of approach used by these representatives in their talks with Government executives and business men. They emphasize that if the United States will not favor Germany with a trade arrangement, it will be impossible for Germany to buy goods from this country.
Then, they go a step farther and try to strike a blow at a very sensitive spot. They say that if there is no trade arrangement with the United States, the German government will get more of her cotton from other countries. There is the threat that in the next year, exports of American cotton to Germany will be cut fifty percent by such action. In view of the fact that cotton is this nation’s leading export crop and is the major money crop of the south, this threat tends to strengthen the argument of the German representatives. Adidtional strength is given to the threat by the wild rumors that the United States is losing its cotton export markets as a result of the New Deal policies.
While representatives from Germany are engaged in these trade talks, it is indirectly brought out that their country does not have the money with which to pay for American goods. They are after a barter arrangement under which the United States will exchange its goods for those from Germany. They also expect the United States to take more goods from Germany than is sent here. This country, of course, would be expected to pay for goods shipped in excess of those paid for through the barter system.
Germany is not putting all her eggs in one basket. Washington hears that she is dickering with Japan for raw materials. It is reported that Dr. Ilgner, the financial expert of the I. G. Farbenindustrie, is in Japan with a suggested deal under which Germany would supply Japan with all the poison gas it may need, and Japan, in exchange, would supply Germany with the cotton the Reich government cannot obtain from the United States on credit. The whole scheme is quite clever. Japan may fall for the idea because of the war scare now running wild in that section of the globe. The Japanese do not grow cotton, but they can get it from the United States on credit if they have to.
Hitler policies have isolated Germany from trade with the rest of the world. This isolation is the critical point in the German economic situation. Germany has tightened her import restrictions in an effort to force other nations to come to trading terms. The United States Department of Commerce points out that the situation created in foreign trade by the tightening of import restrictions and by the allocation of foreign exchange was again evidenced by the “increasing number of defaults of importers to meet their obligations in regard to goods already delivered.”
This situation forced the German government to adopt new foreign exchange regulations, the basic principle of which is a strict adjustment of imports to means of payment immediately available. Coupled with the unfavorable foreign trade situation, and largely as a result of it, industrial activity in Germany is suffering a recession.
All indications point to a winter of hardship and suffering for the German masses. The brunt of all the discomforts is likely to fall on the shoulders of the Jews in Germany. These people have been disbarred from definite activities and are being forced to take the leavings.
Reports received in Washington show that a grave unemployment problem may confront the Hitler government before the winter is over. These reports show that the plans for absorbing the greater part of those now unemployed before the end of this year have been abandoned.
“A fresh increase of unemployment can only be prevented, it seems, by more drastic methods of spreading and redistribution of available work,” says a report to government officials here. An intensive drive is being made in Germany to take unmarried men under twenty-five years of age out of their positions in business and industry, and put them to work in government labor camps and emergency works outside the large cities. The jobs left vacant by these young men would be made available to married and older men.
In addition to the unemployment problem, Germany is faced with the problem of getting raw materials. Her financial condition is such that she cannot buy from other countries. Credit is scarce. To overcome these handicaps, Germany is engaged in a drive to develope substitutes. The increasing shortage of raw materials is forcing prices higher, adding new problems to old ones.