The purpose of the Metropolitan Section is to group together and exhibit all metropolitan production that can be traded with the colonies.
It is in the national interest that our colonies should henceforth obtain from the Metropolis, in return for the raw materials that our major industries increasingly require, the equipment and processed products that they need. In this way a well-balanced current of exchanges will be established, capable of creating the strongest possible link between the outer territories and the Metropolis. In this field, much remains to be done. In the foreign traffic of our colonies, are there not 20 billion out of 37 that go abroad? In the case of fabrics alone, our factories in Alsace and the North could supply 2 billion each year, which they abandon to foreign spinning mills.
The 31 groups of the Metropolitan Section have a total surface area of 80,000 square metres, on which are built three palaces and numerous pavilions. They are divided into 163 classes and 27 groups. To facilitate the visit, the palaces have been assigned to large divisions, the main ones being the industrial groups and the luxury and miscellaneous industries. The floral exhibition adorns the gardens surrounding the pavilions.
The Palace of Industrial Groups alone covers 42,000 square metres. It houses the following groups: Electricity and its ever-changing wonders; Public Education and especially Technical Education, which enables young people to be placed at the disposal of our industries once they leave school. On the other hand, the results achieved to date and their comparison with those obtained by other nations are also put before the eyes of the public, which will thus be able to convince itself that France is still maintaining its rank in raising the level of its civilisation.
Next to this group, which is further enhanced by its moral significance as much as by the industrial results which may be derived from it, is the Exhibition of the Automobile, the Cycle and related industries, and that of Aeronautics.
Here I would like to draw your attention to the "Aviation". At the moment the roads favour the automobile. But the time for full-scale aviation is fast approaching; in the colonies more quickly than elsewhere, for there is no lack of open spaces and landing grounds.
Sports precede food, so important thanks to the excellence of our preserves, our biscuits, our wines, in the balance of trade of our exports.
Further on, the Driving Force is next to Precision Instruments and Scientific Equipment; then you come to Land Transport. Maritime transport is moving forward. All these industries are dependent on the big metal industry. It is desirable that the latter should further increase its outlets, for the benefit of all.
And here are Hygiene, Tourism, Banking, Agriculture and its numerous instruments, the Chemical Industry, a work of peace before being a work of defence. Petroleum follows, along with Rubber.
The beautiful picture rail at the back, which covers more than 80 metres, has been reserved for motifs recounting France's efforts in the field of the Social Economy and particularly Craft Education.
There is not enough space to detail everything. Moreover, special sheets and pamphlets will provide you with the varied and precise information you desire. Industrialists of all classes, remember this: that the colonies, precisely because they are "distant lands", want solid material that does not require repairs, material of the highest quality. The era of "junk" has been over for fifty years in most colonies, as have bartering and other backward customs.
The same applies to materials as to people: let us export "quality" to the colonies.
©Guide officiel - Exposition Coloniale Internationale - Paris 1931