The Chargé in Estonia ( Carlson ) to the Secretary of State

No. 444 (Diplomatic)

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the report which was submitted by the Tallinn Consulate to the Department on September 24, 1935 [1934], entitled “Present Treatment by the Estonian Authorities of American Trade”,31 and to submit herewith a memorandum under the heading of “Effects upon American Trade of the Existing Estonian Foreign Trade Policies”,32 outlining the status of American trade in Estonia since the above-mentioned report was prepared.

In general the information contained in the enclosed memorandum is based upon conversations with Estonian officials and with Estonian importers of American products. The material thus assembled shows a striking divergence between the views held on the above subject by the two groups of individuals interviewed by the Legation. The Estonian authorities maintain for the most part that no restrictions of any kind are now being placed against the admission of American goods into Estonia. On the other hand many of the importers report that it is practically impossible for them to continue their activities in goods manufactured in the United States because of existing Governmental opposition to American importations.

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The assertions made by the Estonian authorities may possibly be traced to the fact that from 60% to 70% of the American importations into Estonia are being admitted on conditions similar to those under which commodities from other countries enter the country. Furthermore, the authorities unquestionably feel that they are being lenient towards American commerce because no official attempts have thus far been made to insist upon the balancing of the commodity exchanges with the United States to conform with the practice which has been adopted with practically every other country in foreign trade relations with Estonia.

The fact remains, nevertheless, that from 30% to 40% of the American imports into Estonia do not appear to receive as favorable treatment from the Estonian authorities as similar imports from other countries. Furthermore, as is apparent from statements made by Tallinn importers of American goods, the negative and dilatory attitude which the Estonian authorities have been taking for the past year or more towards American importations has actually had the results which the local authorities had hoped for, i. e., of discouraging local importers from making attempts to carry on transactions in American merchandise and of encouraging them to transfer their activities to those countries with which Estonia has favorable foreign trade balances.

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It is also desired to make special mention of enclosure No. 3233 to the memorandum which forms the subject of the present despatch. This enclosure contains a summary of the observations of the Estonian Minister for Economic Affairs, Mr. K. Selter, on the subject of the trade relations between Estonia and the United States. The writer was impressed with the frank manner in which the Minister approached this matter and with his very evident wish for an early amicable settlement of the question of the commodity exchanges between the two countries. As was to be expected, Minister Setter’s solution lay in the direction of an increase in Estonia’s export trade to the United States.

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Respectfully yours,

H. E. Carlson
  1. Despatch No. 43, October 6, 1934, from the Consul at Tallinn, Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. ii, p. 130.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.