87. For the Peek-Hull controversy, see George, Fite, George N. Peek, chaps. 16-17Google Scholar; Steward, Trade and Hemisphere, Cpl. 2Google Scholar; Peek, George N. and Crowther, Samuel, Why Quit Our Own? (New York: Van Nostrand, 1936) Google Scholar. The correspondence between Peek, FDR and Hull and Peeks objections is presented in the “Special Adviser`s Report for Foreign Trade”, which was sent to the FDR by Peek on 31 December 1934; OF 614A, the Special Adviser`s report, and in a series of six articles in the Saturday Evening Post, from May 16 to June 20, 1936. The second major external initiative of 1934 was the Trade Agreements Act (RTAA). In March 1934, Roosevelt asked Congress for the power to negotiate trade agreements based on reciprocal tariff reductions with other countries, “that the full and sustainable recovery on the national territory depends in part on revitalized and strengthened international trade.” The RTAA came into force on June 12, 1934 and was a fundamental change in U.S.
trade policy. The Constitution gives Congress the right to regulate international trade and set tariffs. Under the RTAA, Congress granted the President the right – temporarily, subject to a three-year extension – to reduce or increase U.S. tariffs by up to 50% of the levels set by the Smoot Hawley tariff in 1930 in exchange for tariff concessions from other countries. Such tariff reductions would come into effect through executive agreements rather than contracts requiring Senate approval. The U.S. ZOLL reductions negotiated under the RTAA would also be extended to all third countries to which the United States has granted the status of most favoured nation. 46.
Tugwell said: “We were convinced that in order to solve our problems of recovery and reform, we had to be isolated from European interference.” Google ScholarRexford, Tugwell, The Brains Trust (New York: Viking, 1968), 475Google Scholar; Rexford Tugwell, Diary, Volume 5, “June 1933 to March 1934,” 9-14Google Scholar; Tugwell Papers, FDR Library, Hyde Park, N.Y. 73. It was generally accepted that the negotiation of reciprocal agreements would require the lifting of protection for certain industries. See the Executive Committee Report, Supplement 1, which provides a detailed classification grid; Collective Commission, “Project Declaration on Reduced Rates,” February 13, 1934, of 60; And Willard Thorp`s comments on thinking at the Department of Commerce in Katie, Louchheim, Ed., The Making of the New Deal: The Insiders Speak (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983), p. 275-76.Google Scholar By the Great Depression, tariffs were at historic highs. Members of Congress have generally entered into informal quid-pro-quo agreements, in which they voted in favour of other members` preferential tariffs in order to gain the support of their members.