The Minister in Estonia (Skinner) to the Secretary of State

No. 413

Sir: With further reference to the Department’s telegram No. 16, dated May 16, 1932, I desire to report that the Aide-Mémoire which I left with the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Tallinn on April 6, last, has been withdrawn and resubmitted with the verbal [Page 185] alterations suggested by the Department. In connection with this matter it is of interest to note that my discussion with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia is upon the point of bearing some fruit. That is to say, the Government, finding the contingent system difficult to operate, is now arranging to limit imports by means of increased customs duties which will fall upon imports from all countries alike. Whether or not the benefits of the change will be neutralized by the control of foreign exchange remains to be seen. Our Chargé in Tallinn expresses the opinion that we shall benefit by the abandonment of the license system, and he instances automobiles as being probably more freely admissible in the future than they have been in the past. A note from the Estonian Minister for Foreign Affairs to our Legation at Tallinn, dated May 28, 1932, deals with this question as follows:

“With reference to your letter of 26th inst. and Minister Skinner’s Aide-Mémoire of April 6th last, I beg you to inform His Excellency Mr. Skinner, that the Estonian Government at present are preparing considerable modifications in the present system of import regulations, which tend to re-introduce a free circulation of a large number of imported goods actually under licenses. The new system, based on higher import duties, would, I hope, give a natural solution of most of difficulties in trade between U.S.A. and Estonia, mentioned in Mr. Skinner’s Aide-Mémoire.

I beg to add that, in spite of the general decrease in Estonian foreign trade and of import regulations, Estonia, even in the first quarter of 1932 has imported from U.S.A. for 884,000 crowns and exported to the U.S.A. only for 207,000 crowns, which proportion is not less favorable for the U.S.A. as compared with the trade of the same period in last year, when the imports were 1,292,000 cr. and exports 508,000 cr.”

Respectfully yours,

Robert P. Skinner