File No. 763.72112/1057

The Danish Minister ( Brun ) to the Secretary of State

J No. 40 A III]


In a conversation on December 23 with the Danish Minister, the Solicitor of the State Department intimated that to insist strongly in London upon the rights of the United States with regard to commerce with other countries during the present conditions of war in Europe might create difficulties for the smaller neutral countries, but that the time had perhaps now come for a conference between the United States and other neutral countries with a view to concerted action for the protection of their legitimate commerce.

The Danish Minister is authorized to state that the British Government has threatened to apply Article 2 of the order in council of October 29 to Denmark, as a consequence apparently of shipments from the United States of contraband of war (absolute or conditional), presumably intended for Germany, and that the American exporters, if they are really bona fide, should limit their shipments to neutral countries to the normal quantity.

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If the shipments from America to Denmark are not limited to normal, it is to be feared that England will compel Denmark to take measures which will bring Denmark in a difficult position and result in the prohibition of transit trade.

The three Scandinavian countries have resolved, if demands of this order are addressed to them by any of the belligerent governments, to confer on the subject and to reply only after having held such consultations.

Any step which the United States might decide to take for the support of the smaller neutral countries in this matter, will be viewed with satisfaction by the Danish Government.

C. Brun
  1. Date of receipt not indicated.