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File No. 103.95/34

The Commercial Adviser of the British Embassy ( Crawford ) to the Counselor for the Department of State ( Polk )

My Dear Polk : You will recollect that at the end of May and beginning of June we discussed the question of requiring Dutch and Scandinavian ships, but especially the ships of the Holland-America line, to bring cargo for the United States on their westward voyage in ballast.1 You will also recollect that in the case of Dutch ships bound for South American or Far Eastern ports via Halifax, we told you that we had stipulated that such ships should perform intermediate services by carrying American coal to the Canal, the West Indies, the Atlantic islands or the Plate.

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We have never had from you any suggestion as to the cargo for the United States which you wish these ships to carry, though we have discussed with the Department of Commerce the possibility of making them carry pyrites from Norway, and we have also been enquiring of Mr. Farrell as member of the Co-operative Committee on Steel and Steel Products of the Advisory Commission of the Council of National Defense, whether such ships should be required to carry Swedish iron ore to this country from Narvik. The pyrites question has not yet come to a head, and Mr. Farrell has as yet been unable to supply us with information as to the need for iron ore.

Within the last two days Mr. Colver, of the Federal Trade Commission, has approached us with regard to the need for ships to carry pulp and paper from Newfoundland in connection with the commission’s scheme of providing cheap paper for the smaller newspapers in this country. We have suggested that he should take this matter up first with the Shipping Board, and we have also promised him that we would remind you of our offer to consider any suggestions from you as to intermediate services which these neutral ships should perform for this country. It seems to me that we may get into some confusion if we are only able to consider isolated periodical requests for miscellaneous services, and it would obviously be of great advantage if we could have some more comprehensive statement from you of the supplies needed by this country, which outward bound neutral ships from Northern Europe, calling at Halifax, could be required to carry.

Believe me [etc.]

Richard Crawford
  1. See memorandum from the British Embassy, May 29, Vol. II, p. 1119.