635.113 Lumber/20

The Ambassador in Argentina ( Bliss ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1630

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Instruction to this Embassy No. 569 of April 20, 1932, (file No. 635.113 Lumber/10[13]) wherein the Department sets forth its views as to the attitude to be assumed in regard to the exemption from the extra Argentine customs tariff of 10% on “South American” white pine lumber.

Reference was made in this instruction to the special rebate given by the Argentine Government to birch ply-wood of Finnish origin: the Department apparently being under the impression that the Embassy had claimed, or desired to claim equal treatment on the strength of this concession, in virtue of the “most favored nation clause.” If so, Despatch No. 1463 of December 23, 1931 must have been misunderstood. The rebate on Finnish ply-wood was merely reported in that despatch with a view to keeping the Department informed of developments in Argentine tariff policy; and the mention of it made to the Minister for Foreign Affairs was solely with a view of eliciting further information on this same point.

In this connection, I am informed that the decree giving a special reduction on Finnish ply-wood will not be submitted to Congress for approval, and consequently may be considered to have lapsed. Other Governments, such as Germany, have made application for “most favored nation treatment” in regard to ply-wood on the strength of this concession to Finland. This the Argentine Government has, I gather, been unwilling to grant; and the German Chargé d’Affaires [Page 389] appears to be satisfied that the reason is to be found in its unwillingness to admit any further interpretation of the “most favored nation clause” of the treaties in the unconditional sense.

Indeed, as a result of tariff barriers against its products on the part of other countries, and particularly under the stimulus of fear that Great Britain, Argentina’s best market for meat and cereals, may restrict its purchases, the present policy of this Government appears to be, in theory at least, to substitute bargaining or reciprocity clauses in its treaties, for those of the most favored nation.

As for South American white pine lumber, it would seem, as the Department indicates, that the present moment is not favorable for any further representations.

In this connection I enclose herewith copy of comments furnished by the Commercial Attaché14 pertinent to Instruction 569 above mentioned.

Respectfully yours,

Robert Woods Bliss
  1. Not printed.