811.114 Belgium/288: Telegram

The Chargé in Belgium (Sussdorff) to the Secretary of State

43. In the course of a conversation this morning at the Belgian Foreign Office Costermans, Chief of the Administrative Division, informed me that the Belgian Government will do everything possible to cooperate with the United States Government in an effort to put a stop to alcohol smuggling. Costermans said that with this object in view the Belgian Government is approaching neighboring countries and especially the Netherlands; that the Belgian Minister at The Hague has been instructed to report regarding the contemplated Netherlands law concerning landing certificates with bond. Costermans stated that he hoped legislation might also be passed in Belgium which would enable zthe Belgian authorities to require landing certificates with bond in the case of alcohol shipments of a suspicious character.

Costermans declared that in the meantime the Belgian Ministry of Finance has proposed to the Foreign Office that by administrative [Page 422] action the shipment of alcohol from Belgium might be restricted to alcohol in barrels as this would make trans-shipment more difficult and to large [vessels?] carrying general freight thereby eliminating vessels such as the Hillfern, Reidun and Bodo. Costermans cautioned me that although the Belgian Government is sincere in its intent to take action all plans are still of a preliminary nature.

Costermans said that he has had a conversation with Wiley at a luncheon on Friday and had suggested that in view of his excellent documentation Wiley might render assistance by furnishing technical information or possibly by attending a meeting of experts. Costermans added that the request for Wiley’s cooperation would of course be transmitted through the Embassy.21

Costermans promised to keep the Embassy closely informed. I feel that the response which the Belgian Government is now making is encouraging.

  1. In telegram No. 20, June 25, 5 p.m., the Department instructed the Chargé that either he or the Consul General, or both, should attend a conference of experts if invited, “but for the purpose of supplying technical information rather than taking burden of solving problem which is Belgium’s particular responsibility.” (811.114 Belgium/272)