Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Eastern European Affairs (Kelley)

Mr. Sayre18 stated that he had invited Dr. von Numers19 to come to the Department in order to talk over with him the question of the negotiation of a reciprocal trade agreement with Finland. He said that, if the Finnish Government looked with favor upon the negotiation of such an agreement, it would be possible for both Governments to have studies made during the summer months of the desiderata in the way of concessions which each country would like to obtain from the other. After each Government had drawn up a list of such desiderata, exploratory conversations looking to the negotiation of a trade agreement could be held in September between the Finnish Minister and himself. He requested Dr. von Numers to ascertain whether his Government was desirous of entering into such conversations.

In response to a question, Dr. von Numers said that he was not aware of the attitude of his Government in the matter. He stated that he would telegraph his Government immediately and hoped to have a reply before Mr. Sayre went on leave. If not he would inform Mr. Kelley, whom Mr. Sayre requested to get in touch with Mr. Grady,20 with a view to having a committee appointed to carry on the preliminary studies.

Dr. von Numers inquired whether Mr. Sayre knew along what lines the discussions might develop. Mr. Sayre in reply said in confidence that great pressure was being brought to bear to restrict, under the provisions of the N. R. A., the importation of news print and paper pulp into the United States and he assumed that Finland was greatly interested in having these commodities maintained on the free list. He thought that if the Finnish Government were prepared to make sufficient concessions, the Department would give very serious consideration to the desires of the Finnish Government in respect to these commodities.

R[obert] F. K[elley]
  1. Francis B. Sayre, Assistant Secretary of State.
  2. Sigurd von Numers, Chargé of the Finnish Legation in Washington.
  3. Henry F. Grady, Chief, Tariff Section of the Department of State.