File No. 300.115/3752

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

No. 1482]

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith, for the information of the Department, copies of correspondence which has passed between this Embassy and the Foreign Office in regard to the attitude of the British Government concerning the shipment of German beet seed from Dutch ports to the United States.

I have [etc.]

Walter Hines Page
[Enclosure 1]

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

The American Ambassador presents his compliments to His Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and has the honor to invite Sir Edward Grey’s attention to the following matter:

For some years past the planting and cultivation of beets to be used in the-manufacture of sugar has been largely undertaken, with a very considerable degree of success, in a number of states of the United States, notably in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, and, with the success of growing this vegetable, the beet-sugar industry has assumed large proportions. For the year 1911 it is found that 1,238,280,000 pounds of beet sugar was produced in the United States, which in value amounted to $23,895,781, and since these statistics were compiled there has been a constant increase in the production.

Since the commencement of the beet-sugar industry in the United States, the growers have been practically entirely dependent upon beet seeds which are specially grown in Germany for this trade, as it appears that this is a separate branch of the industry, and that a different form of cultivation must be undertaken to produce a seed and not a bulb, and that the American producers have never undertaken to grow seeds since the seed industry had long been established in Germany.

The beet growers in America are in great need of beet seeds in order to plant their next year’s crops, and are very desirous that they may be able to obtain from Germany to the United States certain cargoes of seeds.

In view of the great importance of this matter, and the number of persons and the extent to which the industry would be affected by a total suspension of the regular supply of beet seeds, Mr. Page ventures to inquire of Sir Edward Grey as to what would be the disposition of His Majesty’s Government in regard to issuing such instructions as would appear to be necessary in the case, in order that certain shipments of these seeds might proceed from Germany to the United States without hindrance on the part of His Majesty’s naval authorities.

[Enclosure 2]

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

No. 59196/15]

Your Excellency: I have had under my consideration the memorandum which your excellency was good enough to communicate to this Department on the 20th ultimo requesting that certain consignments of beet seeds of German origin might be permitted to proceed to the United States from Germany without interference by His Majesty’s Government.

[Page 248]

I have now the honour to state that, although His Majesty’s Government cannot give any general undertaking as regards the shipment of German beet seed to the United States, they will be willing, on the understanding that beet seeds are not procurable elsewhere than in Germany, to give an undertaking against interference in regard to particular consignments, the case of each shipment being considered on its merits. Such permission would of course be conditional on there being no question of the exchange of commodities with Germany, and on the seeds being shipped from a neutral port such as Rotterdam.

I have [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
A. Law