Letter to the House Majority Leader on the Export Debenture Plan of Farm Relief.
[Released May 3, 1930. Dated May 1, 1930]
My dear Mr. Tilson:
I have your letter of inquiry as to whether I can see any reason to change the views which I expressed on April 20th last upon the so-called debenture plan introduced by the Senate into the Tariff Bill. I do not.
Some minor alterations have been made in the plan which do not go to the essential fact that the practical working of it will depress and not elevate prices to the farmer. The plan in the present bill presents an additional objection in that the export subsidies proposed vary with different agricultural products and thus are widely different to different farmers. They vary from about 9% upon the cost of production of rye to apparently near 100% on tobacco. In the latter case growers could apparently afford to raise their product and export it for the subsidy alone.
Since my previous statement the Tariff Commission has estimated the cost of the plan to the Treasury, if put into operation and on the basis of present exports, at about $280,000,000 per annum.
Note: For the President's letter of April 20, 1929, see 1929 volume, Item 46.
As of May 3, 1930, the export debenture amendment was a major issue in conference negotiations on the tariff bill. Subsequently, the Senate agreed to its deletion.
Herbert Hoover, Letter to the House Majority Leader on the Export Debenture Plan of Farm Relief. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/210174