653.116/91: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Portugal (South)

24. Your telegram No. 38 [35], October 9, noon. You are instructed to obtain an interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and to deliver a note making representations along the following lines:

You should state that while your Government, which is in entire sympathy with the desire of Portugal to foster the establishment and growth of a national merchant marine, is gratified at the decision of Portugal to abandon in principle the discriminatory duties, the American Government feels that it cannot but express most frankly its disappointment that the initial reductions in the differentials against foreign ships should have been so small, and that no definite assurance [Page 971] has been given that further reductions, looking toward the total extinction of the discriminatory duties, will be made in the immediate future. The American Government is convinced that the regime of tariff rebates operates to the restriction of normal international trade, the unhampered pursuit of which is especially important in the present difficult economic period. The American Government would therefore earnestly appreciate receiving information from Portugal as to its plans for rendering effective in fact the abolition of discriminatory rates to which it is committed in principle. In the absence of such information, your Government would reluctantly be forced to the conclusion that the Decree in question appears to represent an inadequate remedy for the inequalities practiced.

When you deliver the note, you are authorized in your discretion to state orally to the Minister for Foreign Affairs that pressure has been brought to bear by American shipping organizations seeking the adoption of retaliatory measures against Portuguese products exported to the United States. While this Government has not desired to accede thereto so long as it appeared probable that the conditions complained of would be abolished by Portugal itself, nevertheless, in view of the small practical effect of the initial reductions, it is likely that this pressure will now be renewed.