12 Chapter 12: RESTRICTIONS ON GERMAN SODIUM NITRITE IN THE USA

Our three worlds of Germany, Prague, and the USA now merge.

The Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan) reported on 14 Jan 1921 that “large stocks of imported sodium nitrite are offered at extremely low prices by agents of German manufacturers.”

Some of the tactics used by Germany to get goods into the USA, including goods subjected to presidential restrictions, were to import goods through the “concealment of the origin of shipment.”  German chemicals, subject to such restrictions have been making their way into the USA “appearing as having been shipped from Switzerland, Italy and elsewhere.  “Also, there has been extensive smuggling.”  The article states that the German plans to sell their products in the USA and economic domination have been made as early as May 1919.  (The Watchman and Southron, 19 Feb 1921, page 3)

Great emphasis is placed on sodium nitrite.  The author of an article that appeared in The Watchman and Southron, 19 Feb 1921, misread its importance when it was reported that “sodium nitrite would seem to be of minor importance.”  “Since the first of the year (Jan 1921), the Germans have glutted the American sodium nitrite market, threatening to destroy the hitherto prosperous American industry, and no relief has yet been obtained through the war trade board.”  (The Watchman and Southron, 19 Feb 1921, page 3)

In April 1921, the call made in February for greater control over the import of sodium nitrite was answered when the war trade board in the USA placed an embargo on the importation of Sodium Nitrite.  In the future, it could only be imported under license.

An article that appeared in the Detroit Free Press, 22 April 1921, reported that the goal of the embargo was to “check the heavy imports from Germany and Norway which have swamped the market in the country and reduced prices to a level below the cost of manufacture in the United States.  (Detroit Free Press, 22 Apr 1921, Page 18)

On 7 May 1924, The Indianapolis News, reports that the tariff for importing sodium nitrite was increased by a massive 50% from 3 cent a pound to 4.5 cent per pound.  This was the maximum duty permitted under the Fordney-MacCumber tariff act.  The additional duty was levied in response to a petition filed by the American Nitrogen Products Company of Seattle, Washington.  (Detroit Free Press, 22 Apr 1921, Page 18)

In June it is reported that the measures were effective and that sodium nitrite prices were increasing.  (Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Michigan, 11 June 1921, p4)

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