611.60131/53: Telegram

The Minister in Estonia (Lane) to the Secretary of State

3. Department’s instruction No. 10, February 16. Note presented to Minister of Foreign Affairs on March 15 and oral statement made pursuant to instructions. From conversation with him, Rei,11 Wirgo, and Selter,12 we understand Estonian point of view to be substantially as follows:

Estonia is prepared to negotiate trade agreement provided the general provisions thereof approximate those of our trade agreement [Page 264] with Sweden.13 Specifically it is requested that draft article No. 8 as submitted to Estonian Government be amended to conform with article No. 8 of our trade agreement with Sweden. It is possible that Estonia will withdraw objection to draft article No. 18.
Estonia requests 50% tariff reductions on vodka from topaz potatoes, potatoes, butter, cheese, canned fish, chocolate and candy, flax and homespun handicraft goods; and 25% reduction on plywood, chair seats.
Estonia anxious to export shale oil to the United States. At present, according to Selter and Wirgo, importation prohibited by us on the ground that shale oil is “poisonous”, they claim this is the discrimination against an Estonian product competing with our domestic products.
In case treaty not concluded by May 22, 1937, present Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights may be extended by exchange of notes until such time as new treaty concluded.
Foreign Office will shortly submit to the Legation a new draft of treaty.

We have been at considerable disadvantage in our conversations due to the apparent failure of Legation to have made for the files a copy of enclosure (5) to the Department’s memorandum with instruction No. 36 of September 9, 193514 the original of which was apparently transmitted to the Foreign Office. So that we may not be forced to continue to depend on copy furnished by Foreign Office will the Department kindly furnish Legation with copy of general provisions for inclusion in trade agreements.

Will the Department likewise please telegraph to this Legation its comments on the foregoing numbered paragraphs (1) to (3) inclusive.

Am returning to Riga this afternoon.

  1. August Rei, Estonian Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Karl Selter, Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1935, vol. ii, pp. 739 ff. For text of agreement, signed May 25, 1935, see Executive Agreement Series No. 79 or 49 Stat. 3755.
  4. Foreign Relations, 1935, vol. ii, p. 188.