File No. 763.72112/598

The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Spring Rice)

No. 476]

Excellency: I have the honor to advise you that, in a note of the 8th instant, the Swiss Minister at this Capital, by instructions from his Government, makes the following representations in regard to commerce with the United States under the conditions of trade which now exist:

Attention is especially directed to the manifold difficulties still confronting the American exporters of goods destined for Switzerland. The question of transit of goods classed as contraband through Italy, for some time a barrier standing in the way, has been satisfactorily adjusted by an Italian decree of November 13, whereby the transshipment of goods, if consigned to Swiss firms, or whose bills of lading clearly show the ultimate destination to be Switzerland, will not meet with interference.

A further protection for shippers lies in the embargo in Switzerland placed upon the exportation of copper and other metals, as well as upon numerous other articles. The reexportation from Switzerland of such imported articles is thereby effectively prevented. The embargo rules and regulations are enforced in a bona fide manner.

In spite of this, and although the Swiss Legation provides exporters with certificates to the effect that the respective goods will be consumed exclusively in Switzerland and that they cannot be reexported therefrom, most steamship companies still refuse, as the Swiss Minister has pointed out on previous occasions, to accept any freight for Switzerland. Not only are additional burdens thereby laid on the commercial relation between the United States and Switzerland, but American shippers are in numerous instances prevented from filling orders for old customers and from forming new connections.

I have [etc.]

W. J. Bryan