The Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs ( Metaxas ) to the American, Minister in Greece ( MacVeagh )13

No. 26458/y/7/ƛ

Mr. Minister: Following our interview of November 29 last, on the subject of the commercial relations between the United States of America and Greece, Your Excellency was good enough to leave an Aide-Mémoire,14 summarizing the communications made in the course of the said interview.

In the Aide-Mémoire in question, reference is made, first of all, to the proposals presented on July 19 of this year in the name of the Government of the United States, for the conclusion of a Modus-Vivendi between the two countries to replace the provisional commercial agreement concluded by exchange of Notes on December 9, 1924, as well as to the reply made thereto by the Greek Government by the Note of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated September 16 last, and, finally, to the subsequent conversation on this subject which took place between the Chargé d’Affaires of the United States and the competent Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Argyropoulos.

With reference to these exchanges of views, the Greek Government considers that it should once more emphasize its desire that trade with the United States should develop as much as possible and that American trade should not suffer any injury by reason of the system of control of foreign trade in Greece imposed by circumstances. It is in this sense that it would be prepared to consider the granting of special facilities calculated to eliminate in practice any discrimination which might eventually be found at the expense of American importation in Greece.

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That this method of procedure is of a nature to lead to satisfactory results is proved by the fact that already a series of measures taken by the Greek Government has favored American imports, by giving satisfaction in concrete cases to the points of view of the Government of the United States.

Thus it may be noticed that each time that the Legation of the United States has been good enough to submit to the examination of the competent services concrete cases which were resulting in an inequality of treatment to the detriment of American interests, the necessary steps have been taken with a view to satisfying its representations as far as possible.

On the other hand, it may be pointed out that certain special merchandise (for example, cereals) could not be imported from the United States in recent years for reasons independent of the will of the Greek Government, arising from their high price on the American market or from the increase in the cost of transportation of the merchandise; that is, for reasons of international competition and not because of the internal system of restrictions.

As to the importation of a number of industrial products from countries with a credit balance toward Greece, which has been made for the purpose of liquidating such balance (notably supplies for the State), this cannot be considered as injuring American interests, in view of the fact that the importation of these articles could not have been effected otherwise, due to the impossibility of furnishing the necessary foreign exchange to pay for them. But with the improvement of this situation, as appears to be the case at the present time, a greater portion can be turned to American imports.

In addition, since the statistics annexed to Your Excellency’s Aide-Mémoire were prepared, the trade relations between the two countries have improved considerably and show promise of a still greater development of a nature to satisfy American interests.

The preceding statements indisputably establish the fact that at no time has the policy of the Greek Government tended to create conditions for American trade less favorable than those affecting the trade of any other country whatsoever.

Indeed, as concerns the allusion contained in Your Excellency’s Aide-Mémoire with respect to the negotiations now in course between the United States and Turkey, the Greek Government believes it has a right to count on the fact that the trade agreement which may result therefrom could not favor Turkish exports to the detriment of exports to the United States of similar Greek products by the establishment of a discrimination of any kind at their expense, in consideration of the fact that Greece, by reason of its position and the structure of its economy, is and will remain in reality the best Balkan client of the American market.

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Furthermore, without prejudice to the foregoing, as concerns the special facilities which the Greek Government would be prepared to consider in order to eliminate any possible discrimination injuring American importation into Greece, it may be added, as has already been indicated in the last paragraph of the Note of the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of September 16th, that the Greek Government is entirely prepared to undertake without delay negotiations looking toward the conclusion of a modus vivendi destined to replace the provisional Commercial Agreement now in force between the United States and Greece. In the latter case, it would be important, in the opinion of the Greek Government, not to limit the freedom of the negotiations undertaken by the establishment in advance of certain general principles which, rigidly applied, might subsequently prove disadvantageous to our reciprocal interests; while, in the course of the negotiations, it would be possible to find the means of attaining the desired end by practical solutions calculated to favor the common interests.

In awaiting the kind communication that Your Excellency will wish to address to it on this subject, the Greek Government sincerely hopes that the Government of the United States will be good enough to give the attention which they deserve to the considerations set forth above, and to maintain with respect to Greece the favorable attitude which it has never failed to manifest up to the present time.

Please accept [etc.]

J. Metaxas
  1. Transmitted to the Department by the Chargé in Greece in his despatch No. 2009, December 23, 1937; received January 13, 1938.
  2. Not printed; for substance, see numbered paragraphs in telegram No. 40, November 16, 2 p.m., to the Minister in Greece, supra.