Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The Japanese Ambassador called and presented a member of the Lower House of the Japanese legislative body, Mr. Okada. After some casual conversation about nothing in particular, Mr. Okada inquired what comment if any I had in mind about tariff reduction. I replied that this Government was supporting a broad, comprehensive program for the restoration of international finance and commerce to a normal level; that the world could in an equally profitable way to all nations maintain 25 to 30 billions of dollars more of international trade than it had at the present time; that this condition was a major factor in present unemployment of both capital and labor, to say nothing of unstable domestic economic conditions everywhere; that my own country, as well as others, was suffering from many decreases in our already almost dried up international commerce as we saw it in the world today; that many countries were erecting still higher skyscraping barriers, with the result that during recent months our exports of foodstuffs had fallen off nearly one-third; that Japan was not the only country whose exports were being increasingly shut out of many countries; and that it highly behooved all of our important nations to forget about minor short-sighted trade methods, such as were being carried on at present, and to work for the success of the broad economic program which the United States Government was supporting, to the end that we might restore the large and normal volume of international trade aggregating, as stated, 25 to 30 billions [Page 971] of dollars more than the present volume. I elaborated somewhat on these phases and discounted efforts of many countries to float along with their present narrow and short-sighted trade methods and policies. I felt that the Japanese Ambassador might convey these views to his Government.

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