811.801/592

The Danish Minister ( Wadsted ) to the Secretary of State

Sir: With reference to my note of March 18, 1935 I have the honor to address you on the following subject:

Two bills of the same tenor concerning the development of the American merchant marine, S. 2582 and H. R. 7521 have recently been introduced respectively in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Hearings have taken place in the Senate Committee on Commerce and the bill S. 2582 has been redrafted. In the form in which it is presently submitted to hearings (Committee print No. 3 of April 30th 1935) it contains among others the following provisions:

1) Title VII. Section 701 (3) provides that paragraph (b) of section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920, be amended, so that the “United States Maritime Authority”, proposed by the Bill to be vested with the powers formerly granted the “United States Shipping Board” etc., be further authorized “to prescribe and order enforced the minimum and maximum rates, fares and charges, which may be charged and rules and practices to be observed by vessels documented under the laws of the United States or foreign vessels in the foreign trade of the United States”.

Such an extension of the power granted the “Authority” would, if enacted, in its application to foreign vessels go even further than the powers recently proposed by the “Shipping Board Bureau” and in the so-called Eastman-Bill (S. 1632 and H. R. 5379) mentioned in my note of March 18, 1935, inasmuch as no exception is made with regard to “cargo loaded and carried in bulk without mark or count” nor to [Page 476] “tramps”. My Government is therefore still more of the opinion that a measure such as quoted would, as far as Danish ships are concerned, not appear to be in accordance with the rights secured by treaty and the generally recognized principles of international law, granting free access to ports for the purposes of international trade as well as with the universally recognized principle of “the freedom of the seas”. Accordingly I have the honor to request that through your good offices the attitude of the Danish Government with regard to this new proposed provision may be brought to the early attention of the appropriate branches of the American Government with a view that the bills may be so worded as to eliminate foreign (Danish) vessels.

I further beg leave to invite your attention to

2) Section 1006 which contains a provision giving the “Authority” the power to permit members of conferences to make agreements in writing for what is generally known as “deferred rebates”, thus to employ a method of competition which, at the same time, is illegal and punishable for independent operators. A very considerable part of Danish shipping engaged in trade with the United States is operated by independent owners and such owners would consequently, if such a provision should be enacted, be placed in a position of decided disadvantage in the exercise of their rights as shipping-operators.

My Government fears that if such measures as the ones mentioned should become effective they would have serious consequences for Danish shipping now engaged in American trade and acting upon instructions from the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs I have the honor to request that, through your good offices, due consideration may be given to the views of the Danish Government as outlined above, in the further procedure with regard to the said bills.

I avail myself [etc.]

Otto Wadsted