611.623 Coal/71

The Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Moffat) to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary: I reminded Dr. Leitner, during a call this afternoon that on August 30 [24?] the German Ambassador had spoken to Mr. Carr about the appeal being entered by the Department of Justice against the decision of the Customs Court in the coal case. Mr. Carr had looked into the matter and before starting on leave two days ago had asked me to give Dr. Leitner a message to the following effect:

We feel there must be some mistake in the assertion of the Ambassador that we had sent him a note saying that there would be no appeal from the decision. It is true that we expressed to the Departments of Justice and Treasury the hope that there would be no appeal from the court’s decision but we gave no assurance to that effect and of course could not have done so for the reason that the decision in the matter did not rest with the Department of State. The Department of Justice, which was the competent office, had decided, after examining both sides of the question, that an appeal should be taken.

Dr. Leitner said that this was a very serious bit of news and that he must tell me in all frankness that it would be viewed in the same light in Berlin. He said that without wishing to raise two unrelated subjects, we were complaining about a certain set of derelictions on the part of the German Government but were at the same time violating our treaties in a way which he had difficulty in understanding. He said that the coal case was to him a case of violation of treaty without mitigating circumstances, and that pending a final solution of the matter by the court it was in effect holding up all trade in coal. Similarly, we were delaying beyond measure a decision on the dumping of German steel; we were scarcely observing the terms of the treaty in the case of the taxation of motor boats;81 the Normano case he urged as another instance,82 as well [Page 534] as our attitude on the general subject of the mixed claims.83 The aggregate of so many instances he felt could only be viewed with extreme seriousness by his Government.

At the end he asked me to bear in mind that he was not listing these as a démarche from his Government, but calling them to my attention personally to show the difficulties with which they were faced in their relations with this Government.

Pierrepont Moffat

[The United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals rendered a decision on April 2, 1934, published as T. D. 47276, upholding the opinion of the lower court. As no further appeal was filed within the statutory time limit, the judgment of April 2, 1934, became final. (611.623 Coal/96)]

  1. For previous correspondence on this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. ii, pp. 936 ff.
  2. This case refers to the extradition from the United States to Germany of Isaak Lewin, alias J. F. Normano, on charges of forgery and fraud. (211.62 Lewin, Isaak)
  3. See pp. 492 ff.