File No. 659.119/184
The Shipping Board Representative on the War Trade Board ( Munson) to the Counselor for the Department of State ( Polk)
Dear Mr. Polk: I understand you have requested a memorandum of how the Christmas idea stands at present.
Denmark. We licensed 1,000 tons of coffee and 3,000 tons of kerosene. In exchange the Danish Government chartered to the United [Page 1116] States Shipping Board the steamship Annum of 10,400 tons deadweight, which vessel is now making coastwise voyages to relieve the coal situation and thereafter will make voyages to the west coast of South America bringing back nitrates.
Sweden. The arrangement is that we license 5,500 tons of kerosene and 2,500 tons coffee which are to go forward on the steamships Stockholm and Bris at an early date. In exchange this Government has chartered to us the steamship Götaland, 6,000 tons dead-weight, the steamship Sigrid, 4,200 tons and the steamship Magda, or a substitute, of 3,300 tons dead-weight. The last two are for two round trips to the West Indies and the Göthland is to go to the east or west coast of South America, in the option of the Shipping Board.
Norway. This country has been slower in working out the Christmas idea but they have accepted it in principle and are going to name their boats very shortly. Cables seem to have been slower in being passed between Doctor Nansen and his Foreign Office.
The feeling created has been very good and it is interesting for you to know that since the British approved the Christmas idea on the 24th of December they have come around to the belief that a larger amount of all commodities should be licensed to the different countries as a matter of keeping good feeling and preventing German propaganda having too much influence.
The Dutch arrangement will also soon be completed and I will be glad to give you further memoranda when it has been finished.
The feeling of each country is expressed in a paragraph that I quote from the letters [of their representatives] as follows:
From newspaper reports and press telegrams you will already have noticed how deeply this generous offer and Christmas gift has been appreciated in Denmark, and the Danish Government as a matter of fact immediately cabled me the instruction to express to you their sincere sense of gratitude together with the assurance that the feelings of good will and of Christmas good wishes, to which you had given such a unique and in its kindliness thoroughly American expression, were more than reciprocated by the Government and people of Denmark.
We desire to express to you the sincere thanks from our Government for the kindness you have shown in giving license for these commodities and ships during the time of hard distress in Sweden. This act of yours, we assure you, will be highly appreciated by the Swedish people.