662.116 Fruit/23

The Chargé in Germany (Gordon) to the Secretary of State

No. 1962

Sir: With reference to the Department’s telegraphic instruction 117 of September 28 and my telegram 199 of September 29,90 concerning the imminent imposition of German import quotas on agricultural products, I have the honor likewise to refer to the Embassy’s despatch No. 1939, of September 21, and to report further as follows.

Various semi-official intimations having been given—chiefly due to the opposition in industrial quarters mentioned in my despatch under reference—that prior to the imposition of these quotas the Government would conduct conversations with “the interested countries”, the Embassy inquired of the Foreign Office as to what conversations the Government had in mind, pointing out that we were very much interested. The reply was that the countries envisaged were only those with which Germany had commercial treaties or agreements necessitating the obtainment of their consent before Germany could inaugurate the contemplated system of quotas. As our Treaty of Friendship and Commerce with Germany, of August 17 [20], 1925,91 only provides, in Article VII, that: [Page 363]

“Each of the High Contracting Parties binds itself unconditionally to impose no higher or other duties or conditions and no prohibition on the importation of any article, the growth, produce or manufacture of the territories of the other than are or shall be imposed on the importation of any like article, the growth, produce or manufacture of any other foreign country.”

we do not come within that category of countries (see Agricultural Attaché’s telegram 116 of September 26 to the Department of Agriculture).92

Incidentally, both the Agricultural Attaché and myself took it for granted that the Department of Agriculture, knowing that the State Department was actively interested in this question, would transmit to the State Department copies of this telegram of the Agricultural Attaché, as well as of his telegram 117 of the following day;92 I regret to see, from the Department’s telegraphic instruction above referred to, that this was not the case, and the Agricultural Attaché is writing his Department in the premises in order to prevent a recurrence of such an hiatus in the future.

The Government meanwhile has constituted its commission to conduct discussions with the other countries concerned. This commission, headed by a high official of the Ministry of Agriculture and containing representatives of the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Economics and the Finance Ministry, left Berlin day before yesterday for Brussels, whence it intends to proceed to The Hague, Paris, Rome and Copenhagen; it is expected that its discussions will require about two weeks.

It thus seems that we now are in a situation where our best help must come from other quarters whose interests are similar to ours. However, even though the German Government did not intend to initiate discussions with us, we have presented our case as forcefully as possible, and, as indicated in the Embassy’s despatch under reference, with this as a contribution to the volume of opposition which the Government’s contemplated measures have brought forth, it may, I think, fairly be assumed that such quotas as are eventually promulgated will be less harmful than was originally to be anticipated.

Respectfully yours,

George A. Gordon
  1. Latter not printed.
  2. The treaty was signed at Washington, December 8, 1923, ratified by the United States, October 6, 1925, and by Germany, August 20, 1925; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, p. 29.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.