Historisch Archief 1877-1940
DE GROENE AMSTERDAMMER
'Weekblad voor Nederland
On<|er hoofdredactie van A. C. Josephus Jitta
lledactearen: L. J. Jordaan, F. G. Scheltema en M. Kann. Secretaris der redactie:] G. F. v. Dam
Keizersgracht 355, Amsterdam C - Telefoon 3F964 - Postgiro 72880 - Gem. Giro G. 1000
Opgericht in 1877
Zaterdag 16 Juli 1932
to Mr. Herbert Hoover
President of the U.S.A.
aan Herbert Hoover
President der Ver. Staten
. Four years ago you assumed the highest function
n your country, perhaps the most. powerful
position that a mortal on our planet can accupy.
The United States had then attained unprecedented
prosperitjr. The greater part of the world's gold
jsupply was in the vaults of your banks. The whole
?world was in your debt for immense sums of
money, whereas, not so long ago, yours was a
debtor country. Behind your tariff walls the
highest in the world you had almost every raw
material at your disposal in abundant quantities.
I deern your commercial policy, protectionism, an
. «conomic folly. But I am prepared to admit that,
if there were one nation in the world that could
afford this folly, albeit with great loss, it was the
United States before the great crisis.
You fought your way to victory at the elections
under the watchword: prosperity will endure."
How much of that prophecy has been fulfilled?
Your country has been overmastered by events,
AS the strands of the sea are flooded by a spring
%tide. Your gold, your promissory notes, your raw
msiterials, and your tariffs, have been powerless
to protect you. The crisis has harried your country,
perhaps to a greater extent than any other country
in the world.
What is the lesson to be drawn from this? Is
t not that the interests of all the countries of the
world, be they rich or poor, are inseparable?
At the moment the world is struggling with f our
1. the reparation debts.
2. the war debts to the United States,
3. the armaments,
4. the tariffs.
Lausanne has cancelled the reparation debts.
Whateyer may happen, those debts Will neither
be paid nor collected.
At the disarmament conference at Geneva, your
initiatory proposal reduction of armaments by
30 per cent. has once more brought movement
into the almost stationary machine. The entire
world owes you a debt of gratitude for that.
With respect to the two other problems that I
have indicated, I appeal to you to make an equally
radical initiatory proposal. Say, that you
will propose to Oongress to wipe
out the war debts owing to the
TJnited Stat e_s, that you will take
the initiative in convoking an
international conference for the
lowering of the tariff walls, and
that the United States will set
the exampleat that conference.
I appeal to your sound judgement as a business
man. 'Lloyd George has calculated that the total
incomes of the declined at the United States had
a value in 1929 of 90 billion dollars. Recently
someone has calculated that in 1931 that national
income had declined at 20 billion dollars. At this
moment that loss will cèrtainly be greater.
According to this calculation, the United States has, as
a consequence of the crisis, lost in one year three
times the capitalised value of all the war debts
owing to her, or 80 times the tannual amount due
If, by sacrificing once moce one eightieth of
the considerable loss that hèhas already sustained,
a business man should see the chance of gaining
back a great part of the loss hèhas already sustained,
what business man would refuse to take that
chance? And that chance is nobdoubtful. Whoever,
in your position, grasps that opportunity, may
reckon on the probability, bordering on certainty,
that hèwill meet with success.
You distrust Europe. You fear that every dollar
owing to you that you sacrifice, will cost you two
dollars: one dollar less to be collected and one
dollar more to be paid for fresh armaments.
For that distrust there is some ground. But,
bearing in mind the plight in which the world is
at the moment, one in your position should have
the faith in God to perform a noble action, trusting
that his initiative will be followed by an equally
The entire world cherishes the economie delusion
that the creditor is a more powerful man than the
debtor. Has the experience in the case of the
debtor Germany not thrown sufficient light on the
fallacy of that popular idea?
If I lend somebody a thousand dollars, I may,
at the moment that I place the money at his
disposal, imagine that I am more powerful than hè.
As soon, however, as the agreèment is carried out,
I shall, by experience, cèrtainly arrive at a better
insight. My debtor is now in possession of my
money, and I have nothing more than his I.O.U.
If hèbecomes bankrupt, I am merely the possessor
of a worthless scrap of paper. Mercadet already
comprehended that the debtor has more power
over the creditor than the creditor over the debtor.
You distrust the countries of Europe, who are
your debtors. That is wrong. You should rather
meet them in a friendly spil""!,.
My fatherland, Holland, occupies a very special
position with regard to you. If you bear that in
mind, you will relinquish every suspicion as far as
Holland is concerned.
Holland is the only country in the world that
has lent more money to the United States than the
United States has lent to her. Your Department of
Commerce at Washington calculated, before the
crisis, that your fellów-countrymen had invested
about 100 million dollars in the Netherlands,
mainly in rubber in the Netherlands East Indies.
Your Commercial Attachéat the Hague estimated,
at about the same time, the amount that my
fellów-countrymen had put into enterprises in
your country, at 400 million dollars, largely
invested in American railways. Naturally, both
those amounts have, as consequence of the crisis,
considerably diminished, but their proportion to
each other will cèrtainly not have been seriously
It even seems to me that your investments in
my country are safer than our investments in your
country. Have not you also more confidence in the
future of rubber than in that if railways?
For distrust on the part of an American towards
a Hollander there is, at any rate in this respect,
no foundation. We are your creditors to a greater
extent than vou are ours.
Every man has, at any rate, one chance in his
life. Some have more than one.
You 'have had a great many good chances, and
you have known how to make use of them.
This. however, is the chance of your life.
Moral. as well as material, motives impel, in
this case. in the same direction.
You will put into practice the precept: Forgive
us our debts" and, at the same time, you will help
the financial and economie world over the dead
If you take this initiative, you will, at the
close of your first term as President of the United
States, have fulfilled the watchword under which
you entered on high duties. What a politie act,
three months before the elections !
You will place your country and the entire
world under an obligation to you.
This is the chance of your life! Graspitwith both
hands, as you have grasped 3o many chances, for
the well-being of the world, of your country, of
your party, and of yourself.
A. O. JOSEPHUS JITTA
Vier jaren geleden hebt gij de hoogste functie
in uw land aanvaard, misschien de machtigste
positie, die een sterveling op onze planeet kan
bekleeden. De Vereenigde Staten hadden toen een
ongekende welvaart bereikt. Het grootste deel van
de goudvoorraad, waarover de wereld beschikt,
bevond zich in de kluizen van uw banken. De heele
wereld was U ontzaggelijke bedragen schuldig,
terwijl gij niet lang tevoren nog een debiteursland
waart. Achter uw tariefmuren, de hoogste ter
wereld, beschikt gij over bijna alle grondstoffen
in overvloedige hoeveelheden. Ik acht uw handels
politiek, het protectionisme, een economische
dwaasheid. Maar ik ben bereid te erkennen, dat
indien er n volk ter wereld is, dat zich deze
.dwaasheid kan veroorloven, zij het ook met groote
schade, het de Vereenigde Staten waren vóór de
groote crisis. ? \
-.(Slot op pag. 2)