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To the Editor, Jewish Daily Bulletin:
It must have been a severe shock to the secretary of the Board of Trade for German-American Commerce to see his statement belittling the effectiveness of the anti-Nazi boycott featured in the New York press on the same day that German trade statistics for 1934 of such revealing character were published.
Even the most fervent adherent to the boycott could scarcely have foreseen when Adolph Hitler assumed supreme power that Germany’s exports would decline 27 per cent in less than two years, despite a domestic trade revival fostered by aspirations for armament equality.
However, if these revelations had not come so opportunely, Dr. Albert Degener’s own statement would have sufficed to reassure doubters of the triumph achieved by the consumers resistance to German goods in the United States. He pleads and threatens with the old arguments of the two-edged sword, un-Americanism, illegality, etc., surely not because the boycott is a failure, but because of its success.
Statistics compiled by the boycott committee of the American Jewish Congress show not only Germany’s continual retrogression as a source of supply for commodities of prime necessary, but also the beneficial effects on national industry. This is proved by the diminished totals of these imports, consumption of which cannot have diminished. There is little doubt that many new industries have been established as a result of the boycott, which has served as a tariff wall, without the disadvantages of the latter.
Dr. Degener’s statement that the boycott is slowly wreaking havoc among “American export traders” allegedly because the value of our exports to Germany in 1934 was lower than in 1933, is ridiculous. American exporters do not depend on German purchases for their livelihood. These American exports constitute approximately five per cent of the total to all countries, and the shrinkage last year may well be considered negligible from our point of view.
As a matter of fact, total exports from the United States in the first eleven months of 1934, showed such an increase in value over the equivalent period of 1933 that the surplus is at least four times the value of all our exports to Germany in that period. It is twenty-two times the value of the shrinkage mentioned by Dr. Degener and which, according to ###, presages our ruin.
We are warned to beware of an unfavorable balance of trade between the United States and Germany. Our favorable balance of $40,500,000 in a trade involving a total of $167,700,000 during the eleven months of 1934 may be regarded as satisfactory. Smaller imports of German goods at German ports must be attributed to the shrinkage in the purchasing power of the German people under the Hitler regime. Last year, Germany had an unfavorable trade balance of 285,000,000 marks. Obviously, this cannot be repeated in 1935. Since exports from Germany continue to diminish so sharply, imports must be curtailed proportionately. There is little reason to fear that Germans will not buy as much as they can of what America produces.
Joshua L. Goldberg,
American Jewish Congress.
New York City,
Jan. 25, 1935.