462.11 W 892/33: Telegram

The Ambassador in Germany (Houghton) to the Secretary of State

87. Your 51, April 15, 2 p.m., Embassy’s 76, April 18, noon.86 At Von Haniel’s87 request had interview with him Wednesday. He stated conversation would be wholly informal and largely to enable him to frame reply to Embassy’s note. Two problems were involved: First, commercial treaty; second, matter of claims. Regarding former he suggested desirability of the revival, with such modifications as may be necessitated by post war conditions, of all treaties in force between the United States and Germany before the war or certain of them, the complete list made by him being as follows: (1) Patent Convention February 23, 1909; (2) Copyright [Page 243] Agreement January 15, 1892; (3) Treaty of Commerce and Navigation May 1, 1828; (4) Extradition Convention June 16, 1852; (5) Naturalization Convention February 24 [22], 1868; (6) Consular Convention December 11, 1871.88 Some of these, as for instance consular treaty, he thought might be put into effect at once. Others would require considerable modification. He thought immediate action desirable. I replied that we were not ourselves especially anxious for commercial treaty at this time but agreeable to their request were willing to discuss matter and were awaiting suggestions from them as well as preparing a draft treaty ourselves. I pointed out, however, that an agreement regarding claims must be reached before a commercial treaty could possibly be concluded. This, Von Haniel admitted. Regarding claims he said problem for mixed commission in his opinion was to divide claims into definite categories, I referred to Department’s telegram and said we believed amount of claims should first be determined in accordance therewith. Method of settlement could be taken up later. Discussion then turned to composition of mixed commission. All agreed a small commission consisting of one American and one German was desirable. Von Haniel believed third member unnecessary and thought agreement could readily be reached by two. I pointed out that if disagreement resulted, however, it might be on points which would make choice of third man difficult and said for that reason it seemed better to name him at the outset. Von Haniel agreed that Germany’s experiences with neutral arbiters had not been happy. I suggested that it might be possible to name a second American of high position and said I thought a request from him along these lines would have good effect on Congress. After further discussion matter was left for further examination.

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. German Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  3. For Department’s reply, see p. 267.