Calvin Coolidge Says, March 21, 1931

Date: March 21, 1931

Location: Northampton, MA

(Original document available here)

Now that the proposed European tariff truce has been voluntarily abandoned it is possible to discuss it with more freedom in the United States. Some claim was made that it was inspired by an intention to erect continental tariff barriers for the purpose of encouraging trade among themselves and discouraging trade with our country. Some looked on it as beginning an offensive and defensive trade alliance against goods produced here.

Probably that was not correct. European nations are small in territory and contiguous, like our own states. Whatever they could do to encourage commerce with each other by limiting or removing unnecessary restrictions ought to be looked upon with favor by us. We want Europe prosperous. But a trade alliance of one section of the world against another section is of the same essence as a military alliance. It would be a source of irritation and suspicion.

Such tariff rates as are necessary for the protection of domestic industry are proper and friendly. But retaliation and tariffs or agreements for the main purpose of injuring the trade of another country are not wise. Europe needs our trade more than we need hers.

Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Greg Harkenrider who prepared this document for digital publication.

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