Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter Proposing a Survey for Foreign Markets for Farm Products.

March 10, 1936

Dear Chester:

As You well know, the fortunes of American agriculture in the next few years are certain to be closely linked with the world economic situation, and particularly that of Europe.

The agricultural industry of this country never could have expanded profitably to its present scope if it had not found substantial markets beyond our own borders. The shrinkage of these markets following the World War, and particularly following the enactment of the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930, placed the American farmers in a desperate plight from which only such measures as the Agricultural Adjustment Act and the present Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act could partially rescue them.

Since 1933, there have been extensive changes in the economic policies of foreign countries and in international trade relationships, and further changes are in prospect. Future plans made by farmers of this country will depend in large measure on the extent of their outlets abroad. For that reason, I believe it would be advantageous to them if someone who will have an important part in shaping those plans could survey conditions in Europe at first hand.

I am therefore suggesting that you, as Administrator of the Agricultural Adjustment and related Acts, arrange as soon as possible to undertake such a survey.

I feel that during the more than two years that you have administered the farm program, it has been brought through its most critical phases. I believe that it will be not only in your own best interest but in the best interests of the American farmers for you to take a little time away from the arduous· duties of active administration, and to size up trade conditions in Europe as I have suggested. And I feel very strongly that your services to the farmers of this country will be more valuable than ever when you return.

Very sincerely yours,

Honorable Chester C. Davis,

Department of Agriculture.

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter Proposing a Survey for Foreign Markets for Farm Products. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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