611.60 d 31/15: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Finland ( Kagey )

16. Your 8, July 27, 1923, 10 a.m.1 Department’s instruction 81, August 16, 1923.2 (1) The Department on July 31st handed to the Finnish Minister a draft note for the immediate conclusion of a modus vivendi, to be effected through exchange of notes assuring reciprocal unconditional most-favored-nation treatment in commercial matters. The text of the proposed note is as follows:

“I have the honor to make the following statement of my understanding of the agreement reached through recent conversations held at Washington on behalf of the Government of the United States and the Government of Finland with reference to the treatment which the United States shall accord to the commerce of Finland and which Finland shall accord to the commerce of the United States.

These conversations have disclosed a mutual understanding between the two Governments which is that in respect to import and export duties, light, harbor, port and tonnage dues and all other charges affecting commerce, as well as in respect to transit, warehousing and other facilities, and the treatment of commercial travelers’ samples, the United States will accord to Finland, and Finland will accord to the United States, its territories and possessions, unconditional most-favored-nation treatment; and that in the matter of licensing or prohibitions of imports or exports, each country, so far as it at any time maintains such a system, will accord to the commerce of the other treatment as favorable, with respect to commodities, valuations and quantities, as may be accorded to the commerce of any other country.

It is understood that

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No higher or other duties shall be imposed on the importation into or disposition in the United States, its territories or possessions, of any articles the produce or manufacture of Finland than are or shall be payable on like articles the produce or manufacture of any foreign country;

No higher or other duties shall be imposed on the importation into or disposition in Finland of any articles the produce or manufacture of the United States, its territories or possessions, than are or shall be payable on like articles the produce or manufacture of any foreign country;

Similarly, no higher or other duties shall be imposed in the United States, its territories or possessions, or in Finland, on the exportation of any article[s] to the other or to any territory or possession of the other, than are payable on the exportation of like articles to any foreign country;

Every concession with respect to any duty, charge or regulation affecting commerce now accorded or that may hereafter be accorded by the United States or by Finland, by law, proclamation, decree or commercial treaty or agreement, to any third country will become immediately applicable without request and without compensation to the commerce of Finland and of the United States and its territories and possessions, respectively:

Provided that this understanding does not relate to

(1)
The treatment which the United States accords or may hereafter accord to the commerce of Cuba or any of the territories or possessions of the United States or the Panama Canal Zone, or to the treatment which is or may hereafter be accorded to the commerce of the United States with any of its territories or possessions or to the commerce of its territories or possessions with one another.
(2)
The treatment which Finland may accord to the commerce of Esthonia.
(3)
Prohibitions or restrictions of a sanitary character or designed to protect human, animal or plant life or regulations for the enforcement of police or revenue laws.

The present arrangement shall become operative on the day of signature and, unless sooner terminated by mutual agreement, shall continue in force until thirty days after notice of its termination shall have been given by either party; but should either party be prevented by future action of its legislature from carrying out the terms of this arrangement, the obligations thereof shall thereupon lapse.

I shall be glad to have your confirmation of the accord thus reached.

Accept, Sir, the renewed assurance of my high consideration.”

(2) For your information I informed the Minister confidentially that the Department was awaiting action by the Senate on German commercial treaty3 before proceeding with negotiation of other similar treaties. I then referred to complaints received from American exporters concerning Finnish discriminations against American commerce, also to the discriminatory port duties imposed on American [Page 88] ships by Finland, and stated that in view of the very favorable treatment granted by the United States to Finnish imports, which are largely admitted into the United States free of duty (as in the case of wood pulp, hides and skins) it was obviously unreasonable that Finland should discriminate against the United States. The Minister stated he believed his Government would welcome such an arrangement, but that it would have to be considered by a Committee in Helsingfors and that because that Committee was probably dispersed during the summer and because the Minister for Foreign Affairs was absent there might be some delay. He stated that he would urge early action but that he desired to study the note for two or three days before making detailed recommendations to his government.

(3) In handing the Minister draft note I stated that Department would cable the text to you to hand to the Finnish Government. Please hand a copy as soon as possible to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and endeavor to expedite favorable action so that Minister in Washington may be authorized to enter into the proposed exchange as soon as possible. Please telegraph important developments.

Grew
  1. Not printed. On July 19, 1923, the Secretary of State telegraphed to the Minister in Finland inquiring whether the Finnish Government would be disposed to enter into negotiations with the United States at an early date with a view to the conclusion of a general treaty of amity, commerce and consular rights. The Minister replied in his telegram No. 8, July 27, 1923, that the Foreign Office had expressed its readiness to open negotiations.
  2. Not printed. This instruction transmitted a draft treaty of friendship and commerce which had been submitted to the Finnish Government through its Legation in Washington. The draft was similar to that transmitted to the Ambassador in Spain, May 18, 1923, which is printed in Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, p. 831.
  3. Signed Dec. 8, 1923; see ibid., p. 29.