102.102/375: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Gibson) to the Secretary of State

15. Legation’s 120, November 28, 5 p.m. and Department’s 99, December 10, 4 p.m. Letter received today from George R. Coxe, assistant customs representative at Zürich, is signed as “assistant customs attaché” on stationery bearing similar letterhead. In reply to my inquiry by telephone Coxe informs me that a law was recently enacted by Congress creating customs representatives throughout Europe as attachés to our diplomatic missions. I informed Coxe that we had not been so notified by the Department and requested him to refrain from using this title pending accomplishment of customary formalities [Page 733] under instructions from the Department. In drafting these instructions suggest that consideration be given to assurances already conveyed to Schulthess in accordance with Department’s 99.

There is an obviously growing feeling of aggravation in Switzerland against the activities and methods of our customs representatives. This feeling finds frequent expression. Recently a leading member of the Federal Assembly introduced a bill providing that representatives of foreign treasury departments should not be allowed to perform official duties in Switzerland without previous authorization from the Federal Council. He stated that he was led to introduce this bill by the necessity for curbing the improper activities of American Treasury officials. See my despatch number 203, October 29th and 224, November 20, 1924.2

  1. Neither printed.