File No. 763.72112/2081
The Consul General at Copenhagen (Winslow) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 5, 1916.]
Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that the Society of Wholesale Dealers and the Association of Industry, commercial organizations of Denmark comprising in their membership the almost complete business world of the Kingdom, have entered into a compact with the English Government dating from December 7, 1915, by which goods may be imported by the merchants of the Kingdom from British ports unhindered, and dating from December 21, 1915, for the free importation of goods from other ports of the world.
These societies have appointed a standing committee to pass on the requirements of the Kingdom and to decide to whom and the quantities of goods that firms are entitled to import. The recommendations of the committee will be forwarded to the proper authorities in England and subject to certain restrictions and with the exception of contraband the exportation will be allowed from England and her possessions, or a ship from a neutral port may convey through the English blockade these permitted goods if a license has been obtained.
The Danish merchants will sign a form (Exhibit A) for the committee, who in turn will sign another form (Exhibit B) for the use of British officials.1
The agreement in its complete form between Great Britain and the Danish organizations has not been wholly made public but so much of it as has come to light is sent as enclosures and marked Exhibit D.1
It is thought that under this agreement certain goods can be reexported to lands that are at war with the Allies, but it is surmise and the facts are not public property.
The Copenhagen Politiken, a trustworthy daily paper, printed in its issue of December 12, 1915, a private dispatch from London, quoting from the London Morning Post as follows: “Dalziel claims that Denmark has obtained a license to export to Germany limited quantities of porcelain, tools, inks, cheese and machines and unlimited quantities of beer, leather, matches, malt, coffee, Danish cheese, tea, fruits, clothing and watches and clocks.”[Page 290]
By the terms of this agreement, cablegrams with England, her allies, and neutrals referring to business transactions will be allowed to be forwarded uncensored if the cables are addressed to the branch office of the Danish associations in London, which office will forward them to their ultimate destination. These cables will not be sent direct from here, however, but must be delivered to a special bureau in this city that will pass on them.
The gist of the agreement seems to be that it is the intention that all goods imported by Denmark shall remain in the Kingdom.
Certain articles are mentioned which the agreement does not touch and concerning the importation of which the Danish committee can be of no avail to the importer. The goods mentioned are British coal and coke, cotton, yarns, petroleum and its by-products, mineral oils, “American” oil, tin plate, tires, gold and silver bars intended to be minted.
The following wares are mentioned as being allowed to be reexported to Norway and Sweden: Coffee, cocoa, steel and iron plates, piping and fittings, machinery, tools, gas and oil stoves, fresh and dried fruits, tea, tobacco, wines and liquors, feathers, paper, salt, soda, linoleum, tropical woods, furniture, sanitary articles, seeds, perfumery, confectionery, crackers and macaroni, glassware, hardware and carpets.
This agreement will most likely make it easier for American exporters to ship to Denmark if their consignee will sign the declarations exhibited and permits obtained for safe transit from the Danish committee.
I have [etc.]