Proposed Barter Pact Killed by Roosevelt, Called ‘illegal’
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Proposed Barter Pact Killed by Roosevelt, Called ‘illegal’

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ment in cash and the remainder in goods. It involved approximately $30,000,000.

Aside from Jewish opposition to the pact, the agreement represented a difference of opinion between the Southern cotton growers and industrialists elsewhere, who saw in the barter aspect of the deal a danger to American manufactured products.

In return for the American cotton, the United States would have received registered marks with which goods could be purchased in Germany. What worried government officials, and in the last analysis caused the President to turn down the proposition, was the fact that the registered marks, on a gold basis, are cheaper and would make it possible for buyers to bring into the United States extremely cheap goods that might work injury to domestic business.

At one time it was suggested that the Export-Import Bank, headed by Peek, might be used as a depositary for the funds involved and underwrite the risk and handle the exchange policy.


The first opposition to the deal was born in the office of Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Hull, a believer in reciprocity treaties, urged this form of agreement rather than the barter suggestion of Peek.

Peek contended that if this country could not increase exports through the sale of goods, it should increase them through exchange or barter of goods.

The proposed deal involved between 500,000 to 800,000 bales of cotton. At first this appeared so to the liking of the Southern growers that it seemed that they would exert enough pressure on the Administration to force acceptance of the German offer.

Factors tending to weaken the Southerners’ advocacy of the deal had been the upward trend of cotton since August and the realization that the cotton involved would only be a drop in the bucket, that it involved the normal sales to Germany, and no more.


The Texas Weekly, one of the outstanding farm publications in this country’s leading cotton producing State, pointed out that the deal, though welcome, was having its importance exaggerated.

Also involved was the question of Germany’s moral integrity. A number of countries had experienced difficulty in collecting their due from Germany. The Netherlands, in particular, had voiced dissatisfaction with the manner in which Germany had lived up to a trade agreement negotiated last September.

This phase of the situation was pointed out by Samuel Untermyer, president of the non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League, in a long letter to Secretary Hull denouncing any proposed agreement between the United States and Germany.

Oswald Honigsmann, Austrian deputy, spoke in behalf of the emancipation of Austrian Jews in 1868.

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