File No. 659.119/195

The Chargé in Denmark ( Grant-Smith) to the Secretary of State


1935. The communication of our [notice applying] reduction of Danish exports to Germany as from January 17, as [well as] the terms of our new bunker regulations,1 appear to have occasioned some delay in the awaited Danish reply to our last proposals.

An important shipowner states that it is the unanimous opinion of Danish owners that they will be compelled to lay vessels up in port if obtaining bunkers is made conditional on signing agreement to observe new bunker regulations. Signing called an unneutral act. Willingness expressed to remove employees complained of, but signing agreement to disChargé would subject to law suits when disChargé occurs. Owners having small ships in traffic between Danish ports could not sign guarantee regarding freight and passengers because could not subject to necessary inspection.

United [Steamship] Company offer objections to signing which appear sound. They run lines to Stettin and Lübeck which, if discontinued, would be substituted by German ships. Total tonnage now engaged 1,000 tons net. Carry goods from Germany to Denmark but almost nothing from Denmark to Germany. Allies know what goes. Would run in ballast except for empty drums and bags to be filled for return. It would seem contrary to our eventual interests to facilitate substitution of German for Danish ships in this trade. Company agreed to British bunker conditions for all its ships except a designated few in this traffic which ones were simply black-listed.

I have good reason to believe that this Government will in their reply definitely reject our proposal for the use of Danish ships in the danger zones. The Consolidated Welfare Committee, composed of representatives of the various war organizations such as the Merchants Guild, Industriraad, etc., are credited with the statement that however inconvenient it might be, Denmark could exist without the importation of the commodities desired from the United States and that it might be preferable to deny themselves these goods at once rather than sign an agreement whereby they would eventually lose not only the goods but their ships as well. This can only be the result of the German threat to sink Danish ships wherever met, should their owners venture to make concessions to us displeasing to their southern neighbors.

  1. Ante, p. 946.