This man is resolute and resourceful: he speaks French fluently and he was familiar with the foreign trade field. With the outbreak of war he did not lose his head and try to get business indiscriminately. Instead, he made a careful survey of the field; he did not listen to the optimist who said it would be a short war: his instinct told him, on the contrary, that it would be a long one. “What will France need more than anything else?” he asked himself.
He realised that most of all France would need machine tools. He got the cables busy assembling goods, and by every known route he brought them to France. When he had a warehouse full of material, he began to sell. He not only had what the French were hungering for, but he had them to deliver overnight. While his colleagues were frantically trying to get their stuff in, he was getting all the business. The French like the man who makes good.
This man met their expectations and to-day he stands at the top of the selling heap.
More than this, he is building a factory on the outskirts of Paris where he will make and assemble his product. Ask him the reason why he is doing this, and he will tell you:
“First, it means good will; second, we will get the benefit of native and cheap labour; third, we will be able to replace parts at once; and, fourth, we will get inside the wall of the Economic Alliance.”
No matter how we heed the example of the few progressive Americans who have successfully planted their business interests in France, we will face a new handicap when the war ends. As in England, we will be bang up against an industrial awakening that will mark an epoch. Coupled with this revival will be an efficiency born of the war needs that will act as a tremendous speeder-up.
In France this galvanised industrial life will be stimulated by a brilliant imagination wholly lacking in the English temperament. It will go a long way toward opening up fresh fields of labour and distribution.
Self-sufficiency will be the keynote. The automobile is a striking instance. We had established a very promising motor market (and especially with moderate-and low-priced cars) among the French. When the Government assumed control of the French automobile factories and changed their output to war munitions, the two great automobile syndicates protested that the cutting off of the French motor supply would mean an immense loss of good will. First came a 70 per cent duty on practically all American cars and this was followed up by an almost complete restriction of all American cars.
This prohibition will have the same effect as the English exclusion in that it will stimulate the demand for the native French cars. Here we get to one of the striking phases of the new industrial development of immense concern to us. France has her eye on quantity output. Many signs point to it.