662.11173 Barley/24: Telegram

The Chargé in Germany (Poole) to the Secretary of State

205. Department’s numbers 98, 99, and 100. Representative of the Department of Agriculture joins me in the following:

Actual observation by Dr. Mahoney of Public Health Service at Bremen indicates that official hog-feeding tests are being carried out carefully and honestly. American barley induces vomiting while other barley does not. It is true that no hogs have yet died and it has not been possible so far to fix conclusively on a specific defect in the barley, though possible factors have been discovered, the most likely [Page 910] being mould or fungus. Conclusion seems inescapable that at least some of the American barley contains obstructing element which either by itself or in conjunction with local conditions makes the barley nocuous.

While the fall of the price of barley has naturally aggravated the situation and caused a suspicion of bad faith which is expressed even by German newspapers and trade journals, it is not reasonable to believe that this whole difficulty, harmful as it is to German as well as American interests, has been created artificially. It is necessary for the present at least to proceed on the assumption that there is something wrong with the barley.

[Paraphrase.] The Department’s desire that the question be kept on a purely scientific basis for the present and that tests to be made here be left to the Germans entirely, is noted. A policy of observation only will, therefore, be continued by newspapers; and in a few days the result of official laboratory tests may be known and a decision as to an absolute embargo may be made with reference to the tests. [End paraphrase.]

Ministry of Agriculture is being pressed by agrarian interests toward complete embargo, while Foreign Office seems desirous of avoiding such drastic action until the necessity therefor is publicly and officially confirmed. Foreign Office bases hopes on effective cooperation of the American Government to the end that further exports of barley unsuitable for feeding in Germany will be precluded by rigorous microscopic, bacteriological and feeding tests on the part of the Department of Agriculture.

In the meantime a great quantity of barley is accumulating at Bremen and less at Hamburg. Bremen storage facilities are exhausted. As more grain moves from America the situation becomes worse and worse. It seems very desirable, therefore, that, if in any way possible, an immediate effort be made toward some direct compromise between the American exporters and German importers which would permit diversion of cargoes and possibly other measures of alleviation.

Hamburg importers are still taking up documents, and Foreign Office deplores the contrary decision of the Bremen importers. Foreign Office concedes that London contract 30 is ironclad. However, if the situation continues to develop without alleviation, the German authorities may be expected to support their importers in an effort to escape consequences and a fight may be made on the ground that “reasonable examination” as stipulated in contract did not take place, especially after Department of Agriculture was warned of the difficulty here. Please reply by telegraph results of tests mentioned in Department’s 93 [94], September 28, 1 p.m.