The Minister in Denmark (Coleman) to the Secretary of State

No. 166

Sir: I have the honor to refer to cabled instruction No. 32, dated October 20, 6 p.m. and my reply No. 24 of to-day.8

The new tariff law, passed and enforced October 13, 1932 (see Consul General Dreyfus’ despatch No. 143, dated October 15, 1932,9) for schedules, was not discriminatory against American imports in its schedules, but Article 3 of the Law, see Enclosure No. 1,9 is undoubtedly discriminatory as it is clearly stated that the new tariff rates on footwear, porcelain, faience (pottery), crockery and moulded iron pipes, will not apply to orders placed with British firms during the recent Exhibition and may be cleared as late as January 31, 1933 at the old tariff rates, the fact being that the special import permits referred to in Article 3 were only issued by the Exchange Control Board for British goods.

My note presented at the Foreign Office to-day (see Enclosure No. 2)10 refers specifically to this and previous evidences of discrimination.

The Department will understand from the foregoing, the enclosures and previous despatches on the subject that the Danish Government is intentionally and continuously violating the terms of the Treaty existing between the two Countries regardless of other factors which would naturally diminish our commerce with Denmark.

Verbal evidence of such discrimination continues to reach the Consul General, the Commercial Attaché and myself.

While, up till now, I have advised the Department to wait upon events which were hoped to remedy or ease the situation in respect of our commerce, the Legation believes now that some action should be taken to maintain both principle and prestige.

I have been tempted to advise the Foreign Minister that his Government should denounce our Treaty if it continued its present policy, that such act would command more respect than its flagrant violation. On my own initiative I have gone as far as I can without specific instruction from the Department.

When the Folketing passes a law which openly grants the British special favors not applicable to American commerce, I think it is [Page 169] time for more than routine and perfunctory protests, ignored with contumely.

Respectfully yours

F. W. B. Coleman

The Minister in Denmark (Coleman) to the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs (Munch)

No. 59

Excellency: On August 17th I had the honor of discussing with Your Excellency certain discriminatory practices of the Exchange Control Board which were calculated to limit unfairly and prejudice the import of American products into Denmark, leaving with Your Excellency an Aide-Mémoire in which was cited a specific case of discrimination.

On September 12th Mr. Winship presented an Aide-Mémoire to Director Mohr which likewise cited a refusal of the Exchange Control Board to permit the import of certain material from the United States already ordered and needed by a building contractor.

While it was respectfully requested that an investigation be undertaken by the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to confirm the facts stated and that the findings be communicated to the Legation, I beg to inform Your Excellency that no reply to either request has been received.

It is noted that this policy of discrimination against American commerce has been in one instance translated into law:—Article 3 of the new law concerning a revision of the Tariff Law of March 29, 1924.11

I have read with interest Your Excellency’s speech before the Folketing on October 18th in which you state that “Our purchases abroad must be distributed in such a way that they correspond to our sales to other countries”, assuming the translation to be correct.

My Government will desire to know whether this means the present or future abandonment of the most-favored-nation policy of the Royal Danish Government which has existed between our Countries for over a hundred years.

Your Excellency’s reply to the Aides-Mémoires above mentioned and this note would be greatly esteemed.

Accept [etc.]

F. W. B. Coleman
  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. The enclosure printed infra.
  5. For the Tariff Law, see The International Customs Journal, No. 33: Denmark, 4th edition (Brussels, International Customs Tariffs Bureau, July 1924); for revision, see ibid., 14th supplement.