862.4061 Motion Pictures/8: Telegram

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


260. Reference your No. 130, December 17, 6 p.m. The commercial attaché on December 17 cabled the facts in full. After reflecting upon the matter and after conferring with the Embassy staff, including the commercial attaché, I now submit the following observations:

The only ground for formal protest apparently would be the Geneva resolution, but there is doubt that a strong case can be made.
It might be pointed out informally to the German Government that such uncertainty had been created by investing arbitrary authority in the film commissioner that American business would find it difficult to continue and capital already invested would be threatened with destruction. This, I assume, has been foreseen by the German Government, but, despite their general wish for American good feeling, they have had their hands forced by the film industry at home.
The most effective, and perhaps the only effective measure would, undoubtedly, be to face the united German film business with an agreement among the chief American film companies as to what they want in Germany, giving reasonable attention to conditions here. The Americans could agree then upon a common attitude should the Germans remain uncompromising. American companies at present have various spheres of conflicting business policy in the market here, and the Germans use this to their own advantage and to the detriment of American interests.
My intervention has been requested by Mr. Will H. Hays56 in his two telegrams December 14 and 20. Please inform him that the Embassy is giving its closest attention to the matter. However, it is important for the general situation not to be compromised by interceding on behalf of individual companies (United Artists) at present.

  1. President of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc., of New York.