File No. 657.119/56

The Minister in Norway ( Schmedeman) to the Secretary of State


318. The Legation continues to receive very many verbal as well as written communications from Norwegian importers, merchants, and representatives of industry asking assistance in obtaining export licenses from the United States. Interested parties always emphasize their purpose to insure goods being used only in this country. Legation acts in the sense of Department’s July 9,1 referring applicants to their American connections to obtain export licenses and upon investigation Legation forwards letters in this connection to the Department for appropriate action.

This procedure is becoming increasingly unsatisfactory to all concerned in the absence of information about the policy of the United States in regard to exports. As indicated in my cipher telegram No. 311, of September 14,1 urgency of a decision in this matter seems great and an announcement of a definite policy will go far to remove present state of uncertainty here which, despite general good will, will be productive of a spirit among Norwegians essentially damaging to our interests, political no less than commercial, if present conditions last much longer.

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Should we, however, soon undertake the execution of a clear and unhesitating embargo policy along the lines suggested in my telegram of September 14 or along other lines tending to the same result, all the pressure now being exerted on the Government of the United States and on this Legation would almost certainly be diverted to the Norwegian Government and probably lead quickly to willingness on the part of the latter to accept our conditions in regard to exports. The mere fact that some people obtain American products with fair regularity has the bad effect, in the absence of knowledge as to our policy, of delaying development of or even partially crippling industry and demoralizing commerce generally in this country; and the measures taken up to the present do not appear to touch the real object in view, namely, to secure cessation of domestic Norwegian export to the enemy besides effective control of our own exports.

In view of the foregoing the Legation very respectfully requests more definite information as to the stand the Government of the United States has taken or contemplates taking in this matter, also whether British certificates, etc., must be obtained at present for goods from the United States in addition to American licenses and finally as to the agreements which are understood to have been negotiated by the Norwegian commission now in the United States.

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