FOREIGN TRADE: Babassu, Have You Any Soap?

Most Americans have not heard of the babassu nut since September 1936, when Alf Landon attacked this "jungle product" as an example of the riffraff being let into the country by Cordell Hull's reciprocal trade treaties. It grows in Brazil and its oil, used in margarine, competed with U.S. butter. Alf's "babassu speech" was a major milestone on his route to Kansas. But last week the babassu nut came into its own.

The U.S. depended on the Far East for some 1,600,000,000 Ib. of vegetable fats and oils—to make soap, linoleum, paint, varnish, oleomargarine, shortenings, for many a food and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!