The Secretary of Commerce (Hoover) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: In view of the British Government agreement for trade with Soviet Russia, I imagine the nationals of that government will now be allowed to take Bolshevik gold.

In the meantime the objections given by our State Department have been such that this gold cannot be marketed in the United States, there being one actual shipment lying in this country at the present time, which came through Esthonia.

While I understand it is the policy of the State Department not to enter into commercial agreements with the Bolshevik Russians, it is still the policy of the State Department to allow trade with Bolshevik Russia at the risk of the trader. This, however, cannot take place unless Americans can receive gold in payment as there are practically no other commodities in Russia for exchange.

If the British trade agreement allows British subjects to take this gold it would seem to me very unfair to continue our attitude in the matter. We could immediately start up some export to Bolshevik Russia if our people were allowed to receive Bolshevik gold. Such trade would, no doubt, pass through Riga and Finland.

I would be glad indeed if the State Department could take some action in this matter; otherwise, if it is true that this gold can be received by British merchants, it would all filter out through British [Page 763] agencies and no doubt some portion of it would get to the United States through British intermediaries, to the damage of our citizens.

I hope you will have someone investigate this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Herbert Hoover