World Trade, Tariffs, and War Debts

October 5, 1932

Report Outline
New World Attack Upon Barriers to Trade
The Recent Course of International Trade
Tariffs and Debts as Obstacles to Recovery
The World Economic Conference
Congress and the Candidates on War Debts and Tariffs
Special Focus

New World Attack Upon Barriers to Trade

As the world depression, ushered in by the New York stock market collapse of September-October 1929, enters its fourth year preparations are going forward at Geneva for an international economic and monetary conference, to be held at London late in 1932. The main purposes of this conference will be to devise methods of (a) “restoring currencies to a healthy basis, and of thereby making it possible to abolish measures of exchange control and to remove transfer difficulties,” and (b) “facilitating the revival of international trade.” Since the beginning of the depression international trade has declined by more than one-half. During the last twelve months the rate of decline has been accelerated by monetary difficulties throughout the world, growing out of Great Britain's abandonment of the gold standard, and by the adoption of new tariffs, quotas, and import and export prohibitions in the panic that ensued in the field of commercial policy.

The United States has already accepted an invitation to the London conference, on the assurance that war debts and reparations will not be discussed. A preparatory committee appointed by the Council of the League of Nations, with Norman H. Davis and Frederick M. Sackett, American ambassador at Berlin, participating as representatives of the United States, decided on October 3 that invitations should be extended also to Soviet. Russia and all other nations, whether members or non-members of the League. The date of the conference remains to be fixed at a second meeting of the preparatory committee on November 14. Meanwhile a committee of financial and economic experts will meet at Geneva on October 31 to prepare a draft agenda for the conference. While war debts and reparations will be omitted, questions of tariff policy are expected to have a prominent place on the agenda.

The question of the war debts has already been poised for settlement with the United States after the November elections by the decisions of the conference which was in meeting at Lausanne when the Hoover moratorium expired on June 30 of this year. The Lausanne accords in effect make a termination of German reparation payments under the Young plan contingent upon “satisfactory settlement” of the war debt problem with the United States.

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Oct. 05, 1932  World Trade, Tariffs, and War Debts
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