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No German Steel for Triboro Bridge, Laguardia Orders

November 15, 1935
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Mayor LaGuardia, from his bed at Mount Sinai Hospital, today wrote Nathan Burkan, chairman of the Triboro Bridge Authority, urging him to tell the contractor to cancel an order for 500 tons of German steel for piling at the Queens approach.

“The only commodity we can import from Hitlerland now is hatred,” the Mayor wrote, “and we don’t want any in our country.”

Mr. Burkan told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that according to a statement from the Woodcrest Construction Co., the contractor, and from his own engineers, there was no other design of steel available that suited the purpose.

Meanwhile, Robert Moses, executive officer of the Authority, said that the incident was closed as far as he was concerned, reiterating that the Authority was governed by PWA regulations.

Berlin reports said German steel is being sold in this country on an export loss basis.

Samuel Untermyer said that if the contractor did not voluntarily cancel the order, a committee meeting of the Anti-Nazi League would be called to consider possible court action. The order has evoked a storm of protest from civic, labor and anti-Nazi leaders.

Mr. Burkan stated that even if other steel were available there was no way of forcing the contractor to cancel the order since under PWA regulations foreign steel may be used when a 15 per cent differential exists between foreign and American prices.

Mayor LaGuardia’s letter follows:

“My dear Nathan:

“I have patiently and quietly watched and listened to from the sidelines the controversy over imported material for the Triborough Bridge.

“I have reached the conclusion that the controversy has ended in a draw, to wit: nobody wants the damned steel. Therefore, just tell the contractor to furnish American-made material with the job. That’s all. In fact, it will be economy to do so. As Mayor, I cannot permit the use of an intra-city bridge unless certain of its safety. I cannot be certain of its safety unless I first have every bit and piece of German-made material tested before used.

“Verstehen Sie?

“Very truly yours F. H. LaGuardia.

“P.S. The only commodity we can import from Hitlerland now is hatred, and we don’t want any in our country.”

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