665.116/216: Telegram

The Chargé in Italy (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

180. Department’s 70, August 21, 7 p.m. Following explanatory conversations at Ministry of Corporations and Director General of Customs, the Embassy understands that the quota assigned to the various countries for a determined product is based on the imports thereof from the respective countries for some recent arbitrarily selected year. The year chosen differs for different products.

It is also understood that goods in Italian customs warehouses up to August 18 or shipped from countries of origin by the date as evidenced by shipping documents will be admitted.

The Embassy is orally informed that in addition to lard the quotas on celluloid and brushes from the United States have been filled.

The Commercial Attaché has pointed out to the Ministry of Corporations and the Director General of Customs to [the?] injustice of making the quotas retroactive with the result that American exports of certain commodities are stopped for the remainder of the year and I have made similar oral representations to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There is a general impression among the diplomatic representatives here that further notifications as to quota regulations affecting special commodities from various countries may be expected and consequently it would seem advisable that written representations be addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in reply to its note referring to my 174, August 20, 5 p.m. Would appreciate therefore receiving from the Department any observations in addition to those contained in its No. 70, August 21, 7 p.m. to be embodied in note to Ministry.

In this connection it must be noted that as these import restrictions including the quota on coffee (see my despatch No. 668, August 20th13) are ostensibly imposed with a view to combating Italy’s adverse trade balance with certain countries it is probable that any general concessions as regards these restrictions would be granted by Italy only in exchange for benefits accorded to Italy by those countries. Efforts, however, might be made to obtain minor concessions if a good case can be proved that certain quotas are clearly to occur.

Inform Commerce.

  1. Not printed.