660p. 1111/9

The Chargé in Latvia (Cole) to the Secretary of State

No. 289

Sir: With reference to the Department’s instruction No. 182, dated April 4, 1933,5 I have the honor to report that no new legislation tending to discriminate against American trade was enacted in Latvia during the first quarter of 1934.

On January 2, 1934, a law constituting primarily a compilation of regulations previously issued on the subject of foreign currency operations, was issued. A translation of this law accompanied the Consulate’s despatch No. 304 of January 5, 1934.6

In Articles 20 and 21 of this law the term “arzemnieks” appears which literally means “foreigners.” As reported in the Legation’s despatch No. 120 of February 15, 1934,6 the Legation informally requested an interpretation of this word through the Foreign Office and was informed that “according to the opinion of the Currency Commission this word is used in a sense comprising any person residing abroad.”

The regulations governing the operations mentioned in Articles 20 and 21 are, therefore, applicable to any person residing abroad, including Latvian citizens.

On January 22, 1934, the local representative of the Royal Typewriter Company, Inc., of New York City, informed the Legation that his request for permission to transfer $112.00 to New York, in payment of an account then due, had been rejected by the Currency Commission. As is usual in these cases, the Commission gave no reason for its action.

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The Legation immediately asked the Commission for an explanation and was told that the petition in question had not been supported with the proper documents but that on the submission of another petition, the matter would be reconsidered.

The Legation advised the company’s representative accordingly and he presented the petition again. Although no further documents were available and the petition was presented in the same manner as on the first occasion, it was promptly approved.

In response to the Legation’s request for a review of its activities in protecting American trade interests during the March quarter, the Consulate in Riga reported the following case:

“A letter was received at this office on April 9, 1934, from the Remington Rand International, Ltd., Executive Offices, 465 Washington Street, Buffalo, New York, in which the Company requested that assistance should be extended to the Tirdzniecibas Sabiedriba ‘Systema’, J. Petrovskis & G. Kianders, Pasta Kastite #634, Riga, who, it alleged, were not able to obtain the necessary import permit to clear from Customs a shipment of typewriters which arrived in Riga in September, 1933. The consulate, after communicating with the local firm ‘Systema’, was able to reply to the Remington Rand International, Ltd., on April 12, 1934, to the effect that of the 24 machines, which had arrived in Riga, 14 were standard models and 10 portable. Permission to clear had been granted for seven machines, two standard and five portable. The firm ‘Systema’ stated that they hoped eventually to receive permission to clear the rest of the shipment; however, they requested that the consulate should not make any direct representation to the local authorities since the firm was of the opinion that this would only increase the difficulties. The consulate informed the Remington Rand International, Ltd., to that effect.”

Respectfully yours,

Felix Cole