195 Code/1398

Mr. Charles S. Haight to the Assistant Secretary of State (Sayre)

My Dear Mr. Sayre: I have landed today and have wired you asking if it will be convenient for you to see me on Saturday. That may not be a wholly “convenient” day for you, nor is it for me, but I feel that we should meet as soon as possible, in order that I may inform you of the latest developments which occurred in London after our conversation over the ‘phone.

[Page 710]

For your examination before we meet, I am enclosing two copies of a memorandum36 which I prepared in London at the request of Lord Essendon. My purpose was to allay the alarm which was caused by the announcement of the Joint Resolution of March 26th and to prevent hasty action abroad, in the direction of retaliation. Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Holland were quick to cable the British Chamber of Shipping, proposing joint action in the way of retaliation, and the best way of retaliating was also discussed by high officials in London, of which I will tell you when we meet.37 I am glad to say that the Scandinavian countries and Holland were quieted and that nothing of this kind was started, thanks largely to the assurance which you gave me over the ‘phone that the State Department was opposed to both the Joint Resolution which was passed and to the one pending. The day before I sailed (April 11th) I was asked to attend a meeting of the chief executives of the most important British Liners and they agreed to use their best efforts to prevent any hasty action or heated debate and I now hope that there will not even be any questions put in the House of Commons, certainly until there has been time to consider the situation further and, if possible, find a way out.

I am enclosing also two copies of the address38 which Sir Alan Anderson39 was scheduled to make today at the annual meeting of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce. He is the leader in a very determined effort to bring together, for mutual trade, the different countries which believe in a free exchange of goods without quotas, high tariffs, exchange restrictions and subsidies, especially shipping subsidies. Probably you are better informed than I was when I sailed, but I did not realize the strength of this movement nor the progress which has, apparently, been made towards its realization. If the more important countries of Europe and South America join the British Empire in such a plan, our position, if we remain an outsider, will be distinctly more difficult.

I do hope that, under your leadership, we may find a solution for our most immediate and pressing shipping problem. If so, that should be the first step towards a better and more friendly understanding.

On the chance that you may not have seen it, I am also enclosing a copy of the report on “Ship Subsidies and the Future of World Shipping”, issued by the Foreign Policy Association under date of March [Page 711] 14th, 1934.40 The discussion of possible international shipping agreements (pp. 1112) is very much in accord with our discussion.

Very sincerely yours,

Charles S. Haight

P. S. I ought to add that I gave a copy of my memorandum to the American Ambassador and posted him as to the situation before I left London.

Since dictating the above I have your wire and will be at your office about 2:15 tomorrow, Friday.

C. S. H.
  1. Not printed.
  2. See memorandum infra.
  3. Not attached to file copy of this letter.
  4. President of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce; head of the Orient Line.
  5. Not reprinted.