File No. 763.72112/1598
The Consul General at London ( Skinner ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4 p. m.]
Norwegian ship Vitalia detained here since September 5 with seventy carloads packers’ products from, Armour, Swift, Hammond, consigned to Netherlands Trust. Consignors have given bonds that all property so consigned is at disposal trust and no sales or deliveries will be made except upon permission of trust, names, buyers and other particulars to be specified. Packers’ representatives have submitted extended formal statement that new condition is now imposed by trust in consequence of demand made upon it by British Government that no open shipment can be accepted by trust until orders for goods have first been presented to the trust whereupon it lies with the trust to issue licenses but until such licenses have been given Great Britain demands of trust that this organization shall not receive goods. Furthermore, statement declares additional condition now imposed that licenses to ship will be issued by trust only if shipments routed by Holland-America Line and exorbitant freight rate demanded by reason of this monopoly is characterized as outrageous. Respecting shipments in question detention at Falmouth made without any information being given as to cause which can only be surmised and when a demand was made on trust based on its contract with packers it communicated with British Foreign Office asking for instructions as to whether or not it might receive shipments in question. Packers allege that before Vitalia cleared from New York an officer of Holland-America Line in Rotterdam stated to Vitalia’s agents that neither ship nor cargo would be permitted to enter any Dutch port. [Page 551] Packers also allege maintenance of restrictions imposed by trust has resulted in establishment of a committee composed only of large buyers of packers’ products at Rotterdam who meet on certain days, pool their proposed purchases, fix price which they will pay and deliver list of orders to a trust committee known as purchasing committee, which latter committee on behalf of the large buyers placed orders giving shipping directions for shipment via Holland-America Line only. Packers protest against situation created not only as to present detention but as to future shipments going into Holland and request prompt written answers to following questions: Why shipments on Vitalia are being detained by authority of British Government; whether it is proposed to release or discharge these cargoes; if to be released, when; if to be discharged, when?