The American Minister in Greece (MacVeagh) to the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs (Metaxas)1

Excellency: On numerous occasions I have had the honor of discussing with Your Excellency the value to Greece of her American contacts, and particularly of her American trade contacts, with their possibilities of expansion and their lack of any embarrassing political background. If Your Excellency has a moment to consider a few more remarks of mine on this subject, I should like to make them here. They express feelings which lie very close to my heart, and are timely, as Your Excellency will not fail to perceive.

I am informed that the Government at Washington is now very carefully studying the question of trade relations between the United States and Greece. What is the picture which it has before it? What does this study reveal?

It reveals, I am sorry to say, that out of the deficit which the United States showed last year in its total balance of payments with the world, over fifteen percent was accounted for by Greece alone. It shows that whereas the United States adheres to the most-favored-nation principle in its treatment of imports from Greece, her exports to this country are hampered and restricted by import quotas and licenses operating in opposition to this principle. It shows that dollars flow in millions unimpeded into this country to be spent in almost any other way than in the purchase of American goods. It shows that the balance of trade is against the United States and that there is nothing on the Greek side to offset the enormous “invisible” items of Greek revenue from America—14 million dollars (1,540,000,000 drachmas) in immigrant remittances alone last year, another million two hundred thousand dollars (132,000,000 drachmas) in Veterans’ payments, not to mention tourist expenditures and lavish gifts for archaeological, medical, educational, and philanthropic purposes. Indeed, [Page 407] the picture shows that America is good to Greece. I think Your Excellency will agree to this. Would it not be a better, picture if it revealed more reciprocity? Would not such reciprocity encourage further exchanges to increased advantage on both sides? I am sure that at least it would not discourage American interest in Greece as the present picture is bound to do.

Your Excellency, I feel that the Government in Washington, after taking careful stock of the present situation, is going to wish for a more liberal treatment of American trade than Greece has recently given it, in return for the liberal treatment which the United States has given and desires to continue to give to the trade of Greece. I am very conscious, and unhappily so, of the unfavorable picture it is seeing now. But I am comforted by Your Excellency’s own realization, expressed to me on several occasions, of the advantages offered by trade with America where the markets for Greek products are so vast and where the American spirit has already reached out so much more than half way to meet Greek enterprise. And I want to say once more, if Your Excellency will permit me, that I hope for the sake of Greece, to which I am so devoted, that she will no longer refrain from availing herself of these advantages, uniting as they do to a unique degree the benefits of progress with security.

The Commercial Attaché of this Legation1a is taking up with the Minister of National Economy some pressing matters of vital importance to importers of American products here, and Your Excellency’s views will doubtless be decisive in the issue. But what I am chiefly concerned with at present includes much more than these matters and extends to the whole matter of economic exchanges between our two countries, which is the study of my Government today.

With Your Excellency’s permission [etc.]

[File copy not signed.]
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in Greece in his letter of June 9; received July 6.
  2. Karl L. Rankin.