JULY 17, 1952
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Congress seems to have put us into a rather difficult position as far as trade with some of our neighbors goes, particularly as regards to certain dairy products.
Apparently the milk-product industries, or their lobbies, went to work with a vengeance—and succeeded in creating an international situation. Evidently it was intended to make it impossible to import foreign cheeses of certain kinds, and under our trade agreements which we signed and were obligated to live up to we could not renege except under certain defined situations, which were not present in this case.
For the moment, however, our difficulties are somewhat alleviated by a special temporary arrangement, and a final discussion of the situation has been put off until October.
Nevertheless, just as long as there are any restrictions on the import of cheese in any form into the United States, we are technically under the charge of violating a solemn and international agreement. I would not think the amount of cheese made in this country would be seriously hurt by the amount we import.
I am an ordinary homemaker and I buy a fair amount of cheese, particularly when my household is large as it is in summer. In many cases I prefer the domestic cheeses, but every now and then for a change I will buy imported cheeses, and I like to be able to do so.
For instance, I prefer imported Gruyere to American Gruyere. I do not see why a product such as cheese, which we do not yet produce to a great extent, should be excluded by restrictions. We can develop the industry slowly and steadily, realizing that our home market will increases as we produce better cheese.
There also has been great excitement in Switzerland over the threat of increasing our tariffs on Swiss watches. Swiss labor is concerned and has appealed to labor unions of this country.
Perhaps it is impossible for us to keep our tariffs down and benefit our own watchmaking industry as much as we would like to do. But that industry is not very large in this country, either, and I think we have to look at this whole question from the broad point of view of industry as a whole rather than from the narrow view of this or that small industry.
Unless nations all over the world are able to sell to the United States they cannot get dollars to spend here. If we want to sell, we must buy from other nations. We cannot build higher tariff walls and say that our industries are still in their infancy, as they were when our country first started and we became a protectionist country.
In those days we had to teach our people to buy at home. Now it is more natural to buy an American product, but it is also good to remove tariffs and encourage us to buy foreign products. Only in that way can we help the nations that suffered so severely during the war to get on their feet, pay their debts, and be a market for our goods.