National Geographic : 1954 Apr
factories, and in collieries I talked with Saarlanders and watched them work. A few were interested in politics. Most preferred to talk about their jobs. Opinions Differ on Saar's Future Back in Saarbriicken I discussed the Saar's fu ture with Franz Ruland, who bears the lengthy title of Minister of Eco nomics, Transportation, Food, and Agriculture. Herr Ruland thinks the Saar is doing very well as an autonomous state, and he presented an impres sive array of arguments to support his contention. "Under the present economic union," he said, "our products enter France duty free. France is basically an agricultural country, and the French market can absorb more of our industrial products than Germany. The com petition, were we part of the German economy, would be more than we The Saar's F could meet." Minister-President Linsenmeier, who pc Herr Ruland spread a unity. Heinz-Joachi set of charts on his desk. Hoffmann designed t "We've expanded and modernized the Saar economy," he continued. "Our light industrial production is double the prewar level. We have 35,000 people working in fabrication industries now. There were a little more than half that many in 1939. Coal and steel are still our biggest money makers, but we're developing a better balance. "Before the war we exported nearly all our coal and steel. Today we use 40 percent of the coal and 30 percent of the steel in local industry. There's been an economic revo lution here in the past seven years. "I am entirely optimistic concerning the economic future of an independent Saar. It is in a better position than any other state in Europe." Herr Ruland's optimism is not shared by everyone, even within the Saar government. One highly placed official, who asked that his name not be used, contended that the 571 iirst Family Studies the State's First Seal Johannes Hoffmann holds his grandson, Hans-Georg points to a heraldic bridge symbolic of Franco-German m, the elder brother, holds the framed official seal. Frau he emblem (page 574). economic union with France had been suc cessful because of exceptionally favorable postwar market conditions. "The Saar would be better off if we were granted free access to the German market. It would be harder at first, but our future would be brighter as partner of the dynamic, growing German economy," he declared. This official pointed out that the Saar landers, by nature a frugal and saving people, have withdrawn their savings from Saar banks, even though times have been of great prosperity. "Today's attitude seems to be to spend money as fast as you get it, for tomorrow it may be worthless," he said. Figures from the Saar's Bureau of Statis tics support his contention. Postal Savings accounts have dropped steadily. So have savings accounts in the state's private banks.