A propaganda campaign to cajole and coerce the United States into renewing trade relations with Germany so that the Hitler government may be supplied with sorely needed American cotton, has been uncovered here. The drive follows on the heels of the collapse of the German cotton barter proposal which was rejected by Secretary of State Hull and finally disapproved by President Roosevelt.
First evidence of the campaign came to light when members of Congress, received a seven-page mimeographed statement from Walther Gauss, Stuttgart. The statement, entitled “America at the Cross-Road,” is of English text, but has every appearance of having been mimeographed in a foreign country on paper which is not common to the United States.
The first few pages of the statement deplores the American cotton policy. “Looking from the European standpoint at the present American cotton policy,” the statement says, “it appears that it will develop into a catastrophical policy for the South.” The document calls attention to the recent increases in production of foreign cotton and points out that “a further and very serious danger for the cotton acreage of the U. S. A. and its farmers is the invention of artificial cotton….” German and Italian efforts to develop this cotton substitute are reviewed. It is pointed out that the demand for this cotton substitute “surmounts the supply a thousandfold and as soon as the intentions for expansion of this industry will have been carried out and the projected, enormous factories, for which the buildings have already partly been started, take up their work, the sale will considerably increase to the detriment of the American cotton.”
But from here on, the German’s statement becomes bitter. It resumes with threats of reprisals. There is an undertone of danger which is carried in between the lines. Although not making any definite accusations, it is quite clear that the statement seeks to blame the Jews of America for this country’s failure to fall for Germany’s cotton barter scheme.
Germany’s position in the field of foreign trade is deplored in the statement. It is pointed out that “Germany has been entirely deprived of its foreign money through the war contributions, her export has diminished to a minimum through restrictions and all sorts of chicanery and for these reasons is simply no more in a position to buy from abroad the necessary raw materials with foreign currency to employ its workmen, although especially Germany would be an enormous outlet for American raw materials and this particularly now since the German market has fortunately revived through the effective steps of the German government.”
Use of the word “chicanery” is extremely interesting. It is a simple word which means “sharp practice” or “trickery.” But Herr Gauss does not dare use these plain words. The statement continues: “The difficulties put in the way of Germany and other countries with the same or similar conditions, to export their highly finished products, cut them off from the raw product countries to the detriment of the latter and force the former to unwanted autarkie.”
Germany, it is emphasized, “is fully aware that autarkie is not the right thing, but that the sense of the world’s trade is a regulated exchange of the products of the countries. But if the countries producing raw products are not ready to accept the German manufactured goods as payment for their natural treasures, then for this country requiring their raw products, there is no other way than autarkie. This would fall heavily back on those nations who were mistaken enough to have caused same….”
Thus it is that Herr Gauss strikes at the heart of what he is driving at. Germany is in dire need of American cotton and would like to have the United States believe that unless this country trades with Germany under Hitler’s own terms, the American cotton industry will be ruined.
As an added threat, Herr Gauss recalls how Germany a few years ago developed synthetic indigo which he claims is of so much higher quality than the natural indigo that “indigo plantations of importance have entirely disappeared from the earth.”
To this he adds, “It could easily be that if one makes it impossible for countries like Germany to get raw products from America by refusing the import of German goods in putting insurmountable duties on them, also this product (artificial cotton) may get hold of the European market…. What will then become of the vast acreage of the cotton districts of America?”
From here on, it is worth while quoting Herr Gauss’ statement more extensively. The concluding portion of the document strikes a noble note which is supposed to be assurance that Germany does not want to threaten America, that Germany wants to be this country’s friend and barter for American cotton which she needs. All this for America’s sake. Herr Gauss says as follows:
“Even if under the present circumstances the output of the staple fibre factories does not suffice for the entire supply of textile industry and natural cotton is still required, there will, by force of the foreign currency calamity, set in a change as regards raw cotton purchases from the U. S. A. in favor of those cotton producing countries of the world which are ready to take up German industrial goods in an increasing way. Bartering, the basis of the world’s trade in olden times, before the invention of money, has already started in Germany. Many states are already willing to secure the German market for their natural products and to accept in return German goods by excluding any payments in money. If this mode is developing Germany may no more be an outlet for American cotton and other raw products of the U. S. A. and it will easily be possible, if such new ways will answer, that also other European states will take up this method to the disadvantage of the American cotton districts.
“It is in the interest of the American farmers and other raw product suppliers that I refer to these dangers…. If the American government would take care that a regular trade with Germany will be possible again, then it will not lead to the last consequences. Germany, supporter and protector of culture and civilization against the blood-red danger of Bolshevism, will fulfill its obligations, does not want any autarkie, but will remain a large buyer of the U. S. A.; having however no gold, its purchases and obligations can only be balanced by supplying German highly qualified goods. If only the American people would be ready to take from the diligent German workman the work of his hands and his efforts, for the re-establishment of a freer trade and a freer way of payment, so that the German workman would again be in a position to take up the produce of the American farmer, grown under the sun of God’s own country for working it up industrially. Thus the eternal circular course of the true world would create a new sincere, honest and truth full-world peace! World peace and blessed prosperity of the nations are not achieved by hermetically closing the national frontiers, but only by cheerfully working together in the world’s affairs, by uplifting and helping each other and by mutual assistance between the nations for the benefit of humanity, as it is meant by God. Only then God’s blessing will be upon it.”
Thus Herr Gauss continues at some length, pointing out that “The Christian nations of America and Europe should see this clearly before the hand of God lies upon them and puts them aside to make room for other nations to take their place.”
Striking at the United States, Herr Gauss says, “It is not the high mission of the American people to destroy the German people and then to retire from the scene, also not to accumulate all the gold of this earth and heap up treasures of this world, which, lying about unused, would only be a prey for “moths and rust.” The mission of the great, proud people of the U. S. A., in whose hands not only their own welfare is lying, but also that of Germany and of the whole white race, is the duty to make good again the damage of the war, to build again the broken up bridges and to appease and connect the different nations.
“Urgent help is wanted! A further delay may be the going down of the white race. A victory of Asia over Europe would change the character of the whole world, including America.
“America, Thou standest at the cross-road!
“Quo Vadis?” Signed “Walter Gauss.”
And so America, take it or leave it. Herr Gaussâ€”Hitler’s subjectâ€” Les spoken. But, behind it all there is more than Germany’s fear lest the United States lose her cotton producing industry.