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Capital Comment

Actions of the Hitler government which are crippling efforts for improved world trade conditions, are arousing the anger of those in Washington who are engaged in these efforts. On a number of occasions high government officials including Secretary of State Hull and Secretary of Agriculture Wallace, have expressed extreme displeasure at the attitude of the German government toward international trade.

The Hitler government’s most recent attempt to exercise rigid control not only over its exchange, but also over its imports through a huge bureaucracy, is expected to develop into one of the major reasons why a trade agreement between the United States and Germany will not be consummated so soon.

In the meantime, Germany is making a desperate effort toward self-sufficiency. Desperate governmental attempts are being made to increase employment. The contrast between satisfactory development of government-stimulated industrial activities and the difficult foreign exchange situation was never more marked than at present, according to official information received in Washington. German government statistics claim that industrial production has now recovered about two-thirds of its losses since 1929. The role which employment schemes play in the present drive toward recovery is evidenced by the fact that, according to private German estimates, only two-thirds of total activities are traceable to normal factors and government stimulation is responsible for the remainder.

Because of the government’s desperate economic condition, Germany has in effect a foreign economic and financial policy designed to strictly adjust imports to the means available for payment. This is the job of twenty-five import control boards. Official Washington regards this set-up as a major obstacle in the way of loosening up international trade barriers.

Every import transaction over ten marks is subject to a foreign exchange certificate. The foreign exporter can expect payment for the goods shipped only if he has satisfied himself that his German buyer possesses such a license. These licenses are issued only in strict accordance with the amount of foreign exchange available and allotted to each of the twenty-five control boards.

One of the objects of the new system is the bargaining for Germany’s reduced purchasing power. The designation of the country of origin becomes more or less a matter of bureaucratic decision not subject to public control. Thus, American goods which will be imported into Germany in the future will not depend so much on price and other terms but primarily on the views and decisions of the new control boards.

Confronted with the prospective impossibility of obtaining necessary raw material from other countries, the German government is concentrating on the development of domestic substitutes. The significant thing about this is that these measures are not regarded there as a temporary relief, but as part of a permanent policy of economic self-sufficiency.

Another important aim of these measures is to create additional employment, since the large investments which they necessitate are expected to create a heavy demand for capital goods. A scheme, now under consideration, for increasing the production of synthetic gasoline from lignite requires an investment of 250,000,000 marks and, apart from creating jobs for a number of workmen, means additional orders for steel operators and machinery manufacturers. A government decree has ordered a compulsory organization of all German lignite mines for the erection of plants for the production of synthetic gasoline.

Palestine is growing to be motor-minded. At least that is the impression gained from a report by the Department of Commerce in Washington, which points out that “the general prosperity of Palestine continues to make it the best Near East market for automotive products.” Imports of automobiles in Palestine are expected to be considerably in excess of 1933 imports. There is a large demand for trucks as well as passenger cars, busses and even motorcycles.

This is the reason why: The maturity of many acres of orange groves has led to an urgent demand for rapid transportation, which can be met only by motor trucks. And the Department of Commerce reports that American trucks predominate, those of smaller capacities finding ready sale. American small-sized and medium-sized busses are also being used because they are well suited for the mountainous roads of Palestine. These busses account for eighty-seven per cent of those in use.

Republican Representative Hamilton Fish of New York, just simply rates Communists, Fascists, Nazis, and—New Dealers. However, he is extremely fond of football and while a student at Harvard was a grid star.

This year football apparently holds more than the usual amount of interest for Representative Fish. This is indicated by the fact that he has taken time out to develop his own team which he calls the All-American New Deal football team.

Here is his line-up:

Right end, Upton Sinclair; right tackle, Dr. Frederic C. Howe, AAA; right guard, Sidney Hillman, NRA; center, Prof, Paul H. Douglas, NRA; left guard, William L. Leiserson, National Labor Board; left tackle, Henry Hunt, PWA; left end, Jerome Frank, AAA; quarterback, Prof. Felix Frankfurter, Harvard “brain truster”; right halfback, David Lilienthal, TVA; left halfback, Rexford G. Tugwell; fullback, Donald R. Richberg.

Fish named Santa Claus as the team’s coach. For assistant coaches he named Raymond Moley, Bernard Baruch and Rudolph Hecht, recently elected president of the American Bankers Association. Cheer leaders are Frances Perkins and Rose Schneiderman. Fish’s choice for band leader is Huey Long. It looks as if Representative Fish has elected himself publicity agent for the team. Anyhow, it was he who announced the line-up.

Matthaeus Adrianus, a Jew of Spanish descent, migrated to Germany, where he embraced Christianity, in the sixteenth century.

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