War Trade Board Files: Danish Negotiations, Vol. II

The Danish Minister ( Brun) to the Chairman of the War Trade Board ( McCormick)

J.No.40.A.XXIX.n

Dear Mr. McCormick : Referring again to the reply, which you were good enough to hand to me on January 17, regarding the [Page 1306]counter-proposal of the Danish Government for a general trade and shipping arrangement, I am now by cablegram from the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs enabled to inform you that your reply has been carefully considered by the Government and by representatives for all the business interests in Denmark and that the new counter-propositions, will, as soon as possible, be framed and submitted to you. The Danish Government will at the same time reply to the proposition in your letter to me of January 28, that the conditions respecting Denmark’s export to the Central Powers of butter, bacon, fish, cattle and horses should, in case of the conclusion of a general arrangement, be held to apply as from January 16.

In this connection I also wish to mention the question of giving publicity to all or parts of our negotiations on this whole subject. You will remember that in our conversation on January 17 we also discussed this question informally and that I decidedly advised against any such publicity and added that I was very sure the Danish Government would also oppose any suggestion of permitting publicity to be given to the negotiations or parts of the negotiations.

I have later, as I then said I would, referred the question to the Danish Government and in reply I have been directed to say that the Danish Government feels constrained to very strongly advise against giving publicity to any of the proposals under consideration or to any part of the negotiations and is entirely opposed to and unable to consent to the publication of all or any part of these negotiations and proposals.

I regret, dear Mr. McCormick, that this view is not entirely in accord with your own, but from the recent publication of parts of the negotiations with other countries the public is already informed of the general lines of the proposals made on behalf of the United States. The public will, no doubt, conclude that any proposals made to Denmark have been similar to those made to other countries, and in these circumstances you will no doubt concede that your argument in favor of publicity has lost in strength. Your argument was that lack of knowledge of the terms offered had led and might again lead to accusations against the War Trade Board for harsh treatment of the neutrals. As a matter of fact, the Danish press has been favorable since the good will shown towards us by the courteous offer of certain supplies at Christmas time, parts of which have already been allowed to go forward to Copenhagen.

I am [etc.]

C. Brun