Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on Lumber and the Canadian Trade Agreement.

November 15, 1935

Dear Governor:

You will appreciate the underlying motives of general industrial welfare activating this Government throughout these negotiations. I feel that benefits obtainable from this treaty will permeate agricultural and other industries, and improve the general economic situation. The lumber industry is in an especially favorable situation to benefit by such a general improvement. Also, any reciprocal arrangement must involve those items which Canada has to sell.

One of these items is lumber. In recognition of the production of lumber in the Pacific Northwest, the amount of Douglas fir and hemlock involved in the treaty is sharply limited. The 250,000,000 board feet is only a small fraction—possibly about 5 percent—of even the 1934 lumber production in Washington and Oregon, and can easily be more than balanced by better demand from the country. The 50 percent increase in lumber consumption of the country of 1934 as compared with the 1932 low is ample evidence of this. The general effect of the treaty, I am confident, will be to continue and stimulate the steady upturn of industry in general, and thus to increase the total market for Douglas fir and hemlock beyond the quota under discussion.

I thoroughly appreciate your comments on the strong influence of the lumber industry on the general welfare of the Northwest. A large part of your people depend on the utilization of this natural resource. Any loss in lumber production unless compensated by increased market demands will result in payroll losses and unemployment. Your lumber markets are largely in our Central and Eastern sections, and those sections will, I feel, markedly benefit in their economic well-being by the proposed treaty provisions.

I want to assure you personally that after reviewing the possible effects of the reduction of this amount of lumber, and the general advantages involved in the whole set-up, I must conclude that the negotiations must appreciably improve our national conditions and will thus tend to improve your local situation.

Sincerely yours,

Governor Charles H. Martin,

Salem, Oregon

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on Lumber and the Canadian Trade Agreement. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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