Memorandum by the Secretary of State
The Minister of Norway called and made special inquiry about the plan or program of this Government relative to reducing the import burdens on whale oil from Norway. I replied that I myself and my associates were earnestly striving to make progress in that direction; naturally, that the United States, like most countries, had been in the grip of the most extreme economic isolation sentiment imaginable; that it had for some time been impossible to liberalize our commercial policy to the most minute extent; that now we were undertaking to do so to the extent that we could educate and organize public sentiment to support us; that we had in mind the possibility of a 50% reduction in the present rates on whale oil and also other relief that might be feasible as soon as public sentiment, as stated, would tolerate or support such step or steps.
I invited the Minister to keep in touch with myself, Dr. Sayre and Mr. Grady, from month to month, and stated that we would frankly keep him advised as to developments, including the extent to which we might go forward with this matter within a given period of time.
The Minister handed me a note on the clearing agreement between his country and Germany. He stated that his country was obliged [Page 672] to buy enough additional goods from Germany above what it had been buying, regardless of whether it needed or wanted them, to make possible the payment of debt service and merchandise balances, including that on account of sales of whale oil. The note on that subject is attached hereto.24