The Secretary of State to the Consul at Tallinn (Carlson)2

Sir: Reference is made to your despatch No. 193, January 23, 1932,2a with regard to the further extension in Estonia of the import licensing system. There has been noted in the penultimate paragraph, [Page 180] your explanatory statement that a study is being made of Estonia’s requirements of imported commodities, and that future licenses for imports will be granted on the basis of the data thus compiled. There also has been noted the statement of an official of the Ministry for Economic Affairs to the effect that in granting licenses for imports, the Estonian Government will endeavor to ensure that they “are equally distributed among the countries from which Estonia has hitherto covered its requirements of the goods in question”. It is assumed that “equally” should have been “equitably”; that it is not intended to grant merely the nominal equality which would result from allotting equal quotas to all exporting countries, but that the quotas will be equitably proportioned among those countries.

It is requested that at the first convenient opportunity, you inform the appropriate Estonian authorities, with reference to the allotment of import contingents, that it has been the position of this Government that the United States should receive for each commodity affected a quota corresponding, as closely as is practicable, to the share of the total imports of that commodity that it would enjoy under normal conditions of unrestricted trade.

For your own information it may be stated that the Department recognizes that this share is not always easily determinable, and that the factors entering into each case are likely to vary. Thus, while a share corresponding to the average annual imports from the United States over a period of several years preceding the adoption of restrictions might ordinarily constitute a fair standard, such a share would not, for example, necessarily be regarded as fair for a commodity the imports of which were materially increasing at the time the restrictions were imposed. The Department desires, in connection with the allotment of import contingents, to be in a position to employ any evidence available to it that would tend to show what American trade would have been had restrictions not been imposed, without subjecting its representatives to a charge of inconsistency should the evidence in one case be quite different from that in another case.

You are requested to watch carefully and to report fully with regard to the contingents that are allotted by the Estonian authorities to commodities from the United States and other countries. Your reports should contain such observations as you may desire to make with regard to whether the share of imports from the United States of each commodity is proportionately less under the contingent allotted to it than the share which would have been obtained under conditions of unrestricted trade.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
James Grafton Rogers
  1. Copy forwarded to the Minister in Estonia (then at Riga), March 15.
  2. Not printed.