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May I call attention to an erroneous conclusion reached in The New York Times editorial of December 6, and quoted by you on December 7, entitled “Trade With Germany,” which is based on two fundamental errors of statistics.
In the first place the editorial cites American exports and imports in terms of dollars while the fact is that several currencies have been employed. We pay for German imports with reichsmarks of various designations and of varying values (blocked, registered, etc.). Up until 1933, we paid for these reichsmarks in gold dollars, since that period with depreciated dollars. For the seven million depreciated dollars paid for German goods in 1933, we could obtain a much smaller amount of reichsmarks than for the seven million gold dollars paid by us in 1932.
Therefore it is correct to state that both the volume and the real value of our exports to Germany in 1933 show a tremendous decrease as compared to 1932, a decrease of at least thirty-five per cent. In 1934, according to your own figures, imports from Germany showed a drop of forty per cent.
Secondly, it must be emphasized that it is impossible to arrive at any conclusions as to the trend of our trade with Germany without a comparison of the trend of our trade with foreign countries in general, and in particular with countries supplying substitutes for German merchandise.
An analysis of our trade figures with such other countries would show that whereas our imports from Germany in terms of dollars were practically unchanged in 1933 as compared with 1932, our imports from such countries as Japan, Czechoslovakia and France show a tremendous rise in volume and value during that period. We should like to cite several illustrations of this latter fact.
In the fields of import of china, porcelain and stoneware; women’s and children’s leather gloves; blown glass articles, beginning with 1932, and a comparison with 1933 and the first 9 months of 1934, these figures show that while imports from Germany have consistently decreased, there has been a corresponding rise in substitutes for these articles from other countries.
It should be noted further that the figures for 1934 denote imports for immediate consumption and represent the value of goods taken out of bond, whereas, the figures for the previous year denote products arriving for consumption and their entrance into bond. It is therefore fair to assume that imports from Germany up until January 1, 1934 and placed in bond, because of the consumers’ resistance to German-made products, have been included in the import figures for the previous year and that this merchandise taken out of bond during 1934 is listed again in the import figures.
The conclusion therefore is that the statistics of German imports into the United States for 1934 are to some extent exaggerated, since it is extremely unlikely that in the present circumstances German merchandise for storage in bond would be imported.
A survey made by the American Jewish Congress disclosed the fact further that as a result of the consumers’ resistance to products made in Nazi Germany, a number of new industries have been established in the United States to supply substitutes, and that a number of existing industries have been greatly expanded for the same reason. Thus it appears that the boycott against the products of Nazi Germany is in a real sense aiding national recovery.
Dec. 7, 1934,
Joshua L. Goldberg.
American Jewish Congress
Will you allow me to call your attention to a matter which I have noticed in dispatches from your agency. The boycott against Nazi goods is often referred to as the Jewish boycott. It seems to me that this is unfortunate since the boycott is not wholly Jewish and it seems to me that your representatives should be informed to refer to it as the boycott or the non-sectarian boycott.
The Nazis of course constantly refer to it as the Jewish boycott simply to bring down wrath on the heads of the Jews. I am sure you will appreciate my point of view calling this matter to your attention.
Dec. 7, 1934,
James M. Yard
Secretary, Chicago Committee for the Defense of Human Rights Against Nazism.