Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Moffat)
The Danish Minister called late yesterday afternoon to say that he had returned from his leave. We chatted for a few moments on miscellaneous affairs.
I then told him that I hoped he could bring back better news concerning the commercial situation in Denmark, where our people were complaining more and more bitterly that we were being discriminated against. He said that the whole Danish policy of currency control was liable to modification following the elections to be held next month; that there was a certain amount of dissatisfaction in the country itself, but that nonetheless the policy seemed firmly implanted, that insofar as possible a ratio of favor would be maintained varying in ratio with the amount of Danish goods bought by individual countries abroad. He went into a long disquisition on the desperate economic plight of the Danes and said that in those circumstances the Government had to restrict trade and above all to prevent the import of luxuries. I told him that that of course was a point of view against which no outside country had the right to level any criticism; that what we were protesting against was that discrimination was shown against American products. He said that personally he had not gone into the subject very deeply inasmuch as the matter was being handled through Mr. Coleman, and that the Danish Government was showing him that his apprehensions were without basis. He himself had merely asked at the Foreign Office how things were going and had been told that if anything the United States was receiving more favorable treatment in proportion to the amount of Danish exports that it bought than any other country. He then tried to defend the Danish thesis of attempting to effect an even trade balance with each one of the foreign countries with which she was trading, but as an economic argument it failed to carry conviction. He then came back to the time-honored Danish answer that if we would reduce our tariff so as to admit the products in which he was [Page 173] interested, matters would grow better. He was likewise bitter over the Treasury hearings on the alleged dumping of Danish cement. In parting, he reiterated that these trade complaints were being handled through Mr. Coleman and that it would be better to keep them concentrated there, but I urged him not to overlook the growing feeling of concern with which not only our exporters, but our officials, were viewing the discriminatory practices.