The Norwegian Minister (Morgenstierne) to the Secretary of State
Sir: I have been instructed by my Government to invite your attention to certain clauses in a Bill—S. 2582–H. R. 7521—actually under consideration by the appropriate committees of the United States Senate and House of Representatives.
This Bill, entitled “A Bill to develop a strong American merchant marine, to promote the commerce of the United States, to aid national defense, and for other purposes” contains certain provisions regulating rates and freights which would, according to the wording of the Bill, affect foreign flag ships. I have the honor to refer especially to section 701, (2) amending section 19, b of the Merchant Marine [Page 477] Act of 1920 by adding the following words: “… and to prescribe minimum and maximum rates, fares and charges, rules, and practices which may be charged and enforced by vessels documented under the laws of the United States or foreign vessels in the foreign trade of the United States.”
According to section 1006 of the Bill exemption from rates and freights thus prescribed may be permitted to members of conferences. Incidentally, it is observed that the Bill contains no such exceptions with regard to ocean tramps as are contained in other measures for regulation of shipping actually under consideration by administrative and legislative branches of the United States Government.
My Government has instructed me to state that they regard these regulatory provisions, in as much as they provide for control and regulation of freights, rates, charges and other matters with regard to Norwegian ships, in the same light as the Bill S. 1632 and the regulations proposed by the Shipping Board Bureau under section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act. My Government’s views with regard to these measures were stated in my note of April 11, 1935, and I have been instructed again to state the Norwegian Government’s concern over the consequences which would ensue from imposition of such regulatory provisions as now proposed and which, if enacted, my Government feel would not be consistent with the freedom of navigation as mutually guaranteed in the Treaty between Norway and the United States of June 5th, 1928.