811.00 Nazi/55

Memorandum by the Secretary of State

During the call of the German Ambassador, he made complaint to the effect that on October 29, 1933, a German assistant paymaster, named Kiem, on the steamship New York, a German registered and owned ship belonging to the Hamburg-American Line, was approached at the gates on entry into the United States by our customs officers and certain German literature taken from him and from his person, which included certain books and printed circulars or similar literature. The Ambassador insisted that this literature was in the hands of Congressman Dickstein at present and that it should be returned to the German paymaster.

I stated to the Ambassador that I regretted very much to see any unpleasant incident such as this that might call for any exchange of views or requests on the part of either government. I added that while American citizens were entirely willing for German citizens in their own country to publish and circulate any sort of political literature, they were violently opposed to literature touching [upon] [Page 530] assaults on certain nationalities, such as the Jews, being brought into this country and either circulated among people here or carried around under such circumstances that American officers and nationals might reasonably assume that it would or might, naturally, be circulated; that to leave such literature on board the ship instead of bringing it ashore would avoid such criticisms, objections and seizures.

I said that our senators and congressmen belonged to a coordinate and independent department of the Federal government and that they and their constituents were violently opposed to the dissemination of literature in this country by the nationals of another country advocating an assault on the different races, such as the Jewish, and that it was very difficult upon any theory for my government to restrain the action of those who might insist on taking steps to prevent German nationals from bringing over here and carrying ashore from German ships literature of the nature in question. I said we would be glad to take up the matter and see what all the facts were and what could be done about it in the circumstances. I left the impression that the German government might well cooperate by instructing its nationals not to take ashore any of the literature above prescribed when landing on American territory.

C[ordell] H[ull]