The Acting Secretary of State to the Representative of the Roosevelt Steamship Company (Morrison)
Sir: Referring to your personal call on October 19, 1933, at which time you stated that German importers and exporters were understood to be under pressure and even intimidation to use German ships exclusively in the shipment of goods, I am now in receipt of a report16 from Mr. Messersmith, the American Consul General at Berlin with regard to this matter.
Mr. Messersmith states that he has carefully gone into this question and that he has discussed it at length with Mr. Monroe, the general freight traffic manager for Europe of the United States Lines and the Baltimore Mail Line. He states that it was the conclusion both of himself and of Mr. Monroe that German importers and exporters were favoring German ships whenever possible, but that no direct action of a discriminatory character had been taken and that there was no adequate basis at this time on which action could be taken by the Consulate General or by the United States Government.
He went on to explain that various German import associations were understood to have tacit agreements among themselves that their products should be shipped wherever possible in German ships. He added, however, that there appeared to be no formal agreements among the importers about carriers.
With respect to the policy of the German Government, Mr. Messersmith reported that it is entirely conscious that discriminatory practices in favor of German lines with government approval and authority could not be carried through. He pointed out that the plan some time ago to favor German ships by the exclusive use of registered marks by passengers traveling on German ships foundered on the rocks of united maritime opinion in other countries, and that it was not likely that the German Government would in the freight traffic business issue any orders or instructions which would be of a discriminatory character and to which other governments could raise objection.[Page 478]
He stated that he would continue to follow the matter carefully and if there should be any developments of interest, he would not fail to concern himself with the situation.
Very truly yours,
Division of Western European Affairs
- Not printed.↩