The Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs ( Murray ) to the Minister in Greece ( MacVeagh )

My Dear Mr. Minister: The Department has received and given careful consideration to your despatches Nos. 260, 26419 and 270 setting forth the difficulties with which American trade with Greece is now faced owing to the so-called barter policy of the Greek Government and the various clearing agreements which that Government has entered into with other Governments.

We fully appreciate the force, in the light of the circumstances you relate, of your suggestion that it would be desirable to seek to replace our present commercial modus vivendi with Greece by a new agreement more suited to existing circumstances. It is, indeed, our hope that under the powers conferred upon the President by the Tariff Reciprocity Act of June 12, 1934,20 of which you have been informed through other channels, it will become possible and practicable to effect a satisfactory solution of the problems of our trade with Greece through the negotiations of a reciprocal trade agreement in the not too distant future.

Of course you can understand that it takes some time to set up the necessary machinery and to formulate the procedure by means of which our new commercial policy is to be carried into effect. Meanwhile, however, it would be helpful if you would let us have, informally if you wish, any suggestions that may recommend themselves to you in respect of the commodities the interchange of which between Greece and the United States might usefully be stimulated by a reciprocal trade agreement, as well as in regard to all other points which, in your opinion, ought to be taken care of in a new trade agreement.

In the interim it will of course be necessary for you to continue your present efforts to meet the individual problems and difficulties affecting our trade with Greece as they are brought to your attention. That a noticeable measure of success is already attending your efforts seems to be indicated in Rankin’s report on “Revised Requirements for Tenders to Greek Government,”21 in which it is stated that bids from countries with which Greece has no clearing or barter arrangements will be accepted, although no awards are to be made unless the country [Page 559] in question has a debit balance with Greece, and also in the successful outcome of your representations on behalf of the Harnischfeger Corporation.

Sincerely yours,

Wallace Murray
  1. Despatch No. 264 not printed.
  2. 48 Stat. 943.
  3. Report of Karl L. Rankin, Commercial Attaché in Greece, not found in Department files. Commercial Attaché reports were transmitted to the Department of Commerce. Copies of these reports for the years 1933–39 are in the files of the National Archives.