All indications from Washington point to the fact that the United States may soon enter a cotton barter agreement with Nazi Germany. Anxious to increase American export, the administration officials are now canvassing ways and means to take German goods in an effort to find a market in Germany for 750,000 bales of cotton.
The Washington officials seem to forget that Germany is practically paying none of its debts to the United States. They seem to forget that the existence of numerous American enterprises in Germany was made impossible because of Nazi discriminations. They seem to forget that the Commercial Department of the American consulate in Berlin was practically liquidated because of the difficulties which the Nazi regime made for American business in Germany.
FORGETTING THE PAST
Forgetting all these developments of the not-distant past, officials in Washington are now inclined to try their hand again in Germany. They wish to enter a barter agreement which will no doubt be met with much opposition by many in America who have been driven out of business in Germany and who have lost large sums in German investments.
The Soviet government, seeking a commercial pact with the United States, is told to settle her pre-War debts first. The settlement of all debts is made a major condition by the United States government for the government of Soviet Russia, despite the fact that these debts were not made by the Soviet Union but by the Czarist Russia.
We do not now see this same condition stipulated for Germany. No mention is made of Germany’s obligations under the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan in current negotiations for an exchange of goods with Germany.
By entering a barter agreement with the Nazi government, the officials in Washington may perhaps find a market in Germany for several hundred thousand bales of cotton, but they are, however, sanctioning at the same time the Nazi policy of not paying the post-War debts to the United States.
CAN GERMANY BE TRUSTED?
It was only recently that the American Federation of Labor re-affirmed a resolution to boycott German goods in the United States. Other elements in America, chiefly industrialists, being compelled to liquidate their business firms in Germany at great loss, are also not especially keen on seeing the United States do business with Germany. The negotiations in Washington for cotton trade with Germany will therefore not be met with sympathetic approval either from the side of American labor nor from the side of the industrialist.
It may be true that the agricultural situation in the United States requires that more American cotton be shipped abroad. Experience shows, however, that none of those who have entered into commercial relations with Nazi Germany have thus far benefitted by this relationship. The Germany of today is not trusted. She is not trusted by the English textile industrialists in Lancashire and Manchester. Why should she be trusted by Washington?