File No. 763.72112/1453

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State

No. 1872]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s instructions No. 1122 of June 15 quoting cables from the Minister at The Hague regarding shipments of tobacco from the Dutch East Indies to Holland and instructing me to bring the Matter to the attention of the British Government to the effect that it would appear that tobacco from the Dutch colonies was given more favorable treatment than tobacco from the United States.

In reply I beg to enclose herewith to the Department, a copy of a note which I have received from Sir Edward Grey in reply to my informal representations in the premises, in which the position of the British Government is defined.

I have [etc.]

Walter Hines Page

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Grey) to the American Ambassador (Page)

No. 91082/15]

Your Excellency: I have had under my consideration the aide-mémoire which your excellency was so good as to communicate to me on the 7th instant, relative to the importation of tobacco into the Netherlands from the Dutch East Indies.

I have the honour to inform your excellency in reply that the understanding whereby His Majesty’s Government allow certain articles of Dutch colonial produce to pass to the mother country, without insisting on their consignment to the Netherlands Oversea Trust, is part of a general arrangement concluded between His Majesty’s Government and that body. His Majesty’s Government by not insisting upon a restriction as to the disposal of such Dutch colonial produce have made a concession to Dutch trade in return for the advantages obtained from the guarantees and safeguards provided by the Netherlands Oversea Trust.

I venture to point out that consignment to the trust avoids delay and interference with cargoes and that as tobacco from British colonies and from the United Kingdom must be consigned to the trust, British and American exporters of tobacco are placed in exactly the same position, so far as export to Holland is concerned.

I would add that His Majesty’s Government do not consider the arrangements they have concluded with the trust as involving in any sense an act of discrimination and they would be happy to grant American traders similar facilities in return for a consideration of equal value to that given by the Netherlands Oversea Trust.

I have [etc.]

[File copy not signed]