No. 1003.
Mr. Magee to Mr. Bayard.

No. 116.]

Sir: By my number 115, under date of the 15th of February, I had the honor to give you a brief résumé of the amounts in tons of the importation of nine leading articles into this Kingdom for the year 1886. Also the amount in tons of the direct exportation in iron from the Kingdom to ports in the United States, as well as the number of emigrants embarking from Swedish localities tor the United States for the same period.

At present this trade is carried almost exclusively in English, or ships of nationalities other than of the two countries. This is perhaps caused from the fact that the Swedes have not the capital to invest in an ocean steam ship line, while Americans have not the privilege. I am, however, impressed with the opinion that if the carrying trade between the two countries was controlled by either or both conjointly there could be a very material increase in the volume, and in this belief I am supported by the results of the increased exportation and importation with Denmark and Norway since the establishment of the Thingvalla line, the only direct line connecting New York with Scandinavian ports.

If American capitalists could be induced to invest money in such an enterprise, I am satisfied that satisfactory returns would result to them. The outward cargoes from here are assured in the two items of emigration and iron, while the statement I have given you showing the amount of freight in tons would furnish return cargoes. The advantage in such a line would be in the fact that no transshipment would have to be made, as is now the case.

Sweden is a large consumer of foreign manufactured articles, as well as of meats and breadstuffe, and there is some partiality shown for those of American manufacture and produce. Some enterprise on the part of those engaged in trade in the United States—some effort to increase it in this country—could not otherwise than be attended with satisfactory results. As a rule the Swedish buyer is responsible, and the American seller would run no extraordinary risk in giving the usual credit. Such a policy would likewise enlarge the field for the American producer in a country where a return for his products would be attended with reasonable safety and profit.

The United States should furnish the people of this Kingdom with breadstuffs, meats, etc., consumed over and above the amount produced in the country, as the products from America are as cheap in price and superior in quality to those of Germany or Russia, from whence at present large quantities of breadstuffs are purchased.

I am not inclined to attach much importance to the effect of the recent action of the Diet in placing a tariff on these articles. It will not become the settled policy of the country, and already there is much vehement opposition to the new ordinance. The popular sentiment of the country is against the present ministerial policy, and upon the reelection of members to the Diet the Liberals or free-trade party will come into power. The present tariff may, however, affect somewhat the amount of imports of these articles, but the American seller is no more affected by it than his German or Russian competitor. There is no reciprocity in German or Russian trade; the United States and England [Page 1478] are Sweden’s largest customers. Hence the former country should furnish the great bulk of grain and meats, and might become a good competitor of England in all industrial branches.

A line of direct steam communication would be a valuable factor in producing this result. The proposition needs no elaboration of argument, but it is of such importance that I have thought it best to call your attention to the subject. My investigation of the trade condition in this Kingdom has satisfied me that here is a new field, comparatively, for the American manufacturer who desires to increase his trade, a field not limited to a few articles, but including almost all which enter into the domestic economy,

I have, etc.,

Rufus Magee.