611.60 p 31/4a: Telegram
The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Latvia (Coleman)
35. Your 84, May 23, 1 p.m.1 Department’s 21, May 27, 3 p.m.2 Department not disposed to proceed with treaty pending consent of Senate to treaty with Germany,3 but desires immediately to enter into modus vivendi with Latvia for reciprocal assurance of unconditional most-favored-nation treatment in commercial matters.
You are requested at the earliest practicable date to propose such a course, at the same time handing to the Foreign Minister the following draft of a note which you are authorized to sign upon assurance of a reply in like terms:
“I have the honor to make the following statement of my understanding of the agreement reached through recent conversations held at Riga on behalf of the Government of the United States and the Government of Latvia with reference to the treatment which the United States shall accord to the commerce of Latvia and which Latvia 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 Latvia, and Latvia 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 [Page 489] 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
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 Latvia 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 Latvia 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 Latvia, on the exportation of any article 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 Latvia, 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 Latvia and of the United States and its territories and possessions, respectively:
Provided that this understanding does not relate to
- 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.
- The treatment which Latvia may accord to the commerce of Esthonia and/or Lithuania.
- 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.”
In view of the fact that this is the time of year when the greatest commercial interchange takes place between the United States and [Page 490] Latvia, the Department would be much gratified if the proposed exchange of notes could take place immediately. Should Latvia insist upon changes you should report them textually by telegraph.
[Paraphrase.] Should you find that there exists any discrimination against American trade, and if you should think such a statement advisable, you may state orally that by Section 317 of the Tariff Act of 19224 the President is authorized to declare new and additional duties upon the products of those countries which discriminate against the United States. [End paraphrase.]
- Not printed; it inquired as to the status of the treaty of amity, commerce and consular rights, which had been proposed to Latvia pursuant to instruction No. 62, Aug. 21, 1923 (not printed).↩
- Not printed; it stated that the Department would probably not proceed further with the negotiations for a treaty of amity, commerce and consular rights until action on the treaty signed with Germany on Dec. 8, 1923, had been taken by the Senate.↩
- Signed Dec. 8, 1923; Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, p. 29.↩
- 42 Stat. 858, 944.↩