Courtesy Reuters

"Equal Access" to Raw Materials

FIVE years ago Dr. Hjalmar Schacht contributed to these pages an article on Germany's colonial demands.[i] His purpose was to explain that Germany's lack of "access" to colonial raw materials would inevitably lead to war. Incidentally, Dr. Schacht was less prophetic than would appear at first sight; for he was at pains to explain how different Germany's case was from that of Japan and Italy:

Japan has meanwhile decided to help herself and has acquired Manchuria; while Italy, by the conquest of Abyssinia, has expanded the territory which she requires for her life. As a result, Japan and Italy are no longer amongst the unsatisfied nations. They have left the Have-nots and have joined the ranks of the Haves, those nations which are satisfied. Germany remains the lone unsatisfied large Power. So long, then, as the problem of raw materials is not solved for Germany, so long will she remain a source of unrest despite her love of peace.

How unfortunate for Japan and Italy that the demonstration of their love of peace could not be so conclusive as Germany's! But let us proceed with the analysis of Dr. Schacht's complaints. What are the essential conditions of access to colonial raw materials?

The first, obviously, is that there should be no export prohibitions or discriminatory export taxes by producing countries. But no measures of such a nature had in fact been taken, prior to 1939, in any of the producing countries. On the contrary, foreign purchases of colonial raw materials were generally welcome, especially in depression years. True, cartels of producers attempted to regulate and at times to restrict output. But far from being intended to hamper sales, such measures were taken exclusively in order to adapt supply to a deficient demand -- in order to prevent the commodities in question from becoming a drug on the market. They were eagerly lifted as soon as demand picked up.

A second condition is indicated by the question: What is the use of having

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