The Consul General at Berlin (Messersmith) to the Secretary of State

No. 1550

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my confidential despatch No. 1521 of August 2114 in which I reported on the discriminatory measures which had been taken against the American and foreign steamship lines in Germany through a decree of the Ministry of Commerce dated August 7, 1933. In this despatch I informed the Department that at a meeting in the Ministry of Commerce the representatives of the foreign steamship lines were informed that the discriminatory measures would be immediately removed through a new decree.

This decree has appeared, and after carefully studying it I came to the conclusion that it was entirely satisfactory from the point of view of the American steamship lines. I am now informed by Mr. Atterholt of the [Page 476] United States Lines, that he is convinced that under the new decree the American lines will experience no difficulty and that there is no discrimination under the procedure now established, against them in favor of the German lines or vis-à-vis other foreign lines. The new decree requires the foreign steamship lines and agencies in Germany to make a monthly report to the authorities on the number of passages they have sold and the total income from passage money collected. They will also have to show every month the sums which they have expended in Germany for operation and upkeep of their passenger offices in Germany. The decree permits them to sell passage to any person who may apply therefor irrespective of the cost of the passage, without the companies or the passengers securing previous authorization from the fiscal authorities. The decree permits the American companies to pay out of their passage money collected in Germany, their costs of operation in Germany and then transmit without further authorization 50% of the balance. If the company wishes to transfer more than 50% of the balance, it may make special application for such transfer. As the American lines spend a good deal of the money which they receive from passenger income in Germany for the operation of their vessels from Hamburg and Bremen as well as for the maintenance of their passenger offices and operating offices in Germany, the prescriptions with regard to the transfer of funds do not offer any inconvenience to the American lines. The American lines have not up to now had any difficulty in transferring any of their funds which they wished to transfer, and Mr. Atterholt believes that they will not have any difficulty in the future under the new decree in this respect.

I am glad to be able to report the satisfactory settlement of this matter. The wide publicity which the planned discriminatory action had in the English and so far as I know, in the American press, undoubtedly had a very excellent effect in bringing about this rapid adjustment. There is transmitted herewith a clipping from the Berliner Tageblatt of August 24,15 giving the contents of the new decree. As the matter is satisfactorily adjusted, I have not deemed it necessary to make a translation of this article or to submit a translation of the new decree.

Respectfully yours,

George S. Messersmith
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