The Consul General at Warsaw (Bevan) to the Secretary of State

No. 745

Sir: I have the honor to invite the Department’s attention to the enclosed letter of September 25, 1936,37 addressed to the Bremen representative [Page 544] of George H. McFadden and Brother, the American cotton exporters, regarding the intention of the Polish Government to require imports into Poland of cotton of American origin to be transported by direct steamers from the United States. A similar letter was sent to the Bremen office of Anderson, Clayton and Company on September 26, 1936, in reply to its request of two days previously. Both firms had requested the Consulate General to intervene, which it did, with the appropriate authorities to secure either a postponement or a cancellation of the requirement.

On October 1, 1936, the Consulate General was able to inform both firms in Bremen that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce had postponed the effective date of the direct-shipment requirement to November 1, 1936, and today (October 7th) it notified them of a further postponement to December 1st.

In reply to the final paragraph of the Consulate General’s letter of September 25th, the McFadden representative has stated that “the amount of cotton we shall be unable to clear through Customs before November 1st will not be very great” and that “the prolongation (to November 1st) will probably enable us to avoid any unfortunate situation”. No reply to the same paragraph has yet been received from the other firm, although both have expressed willingness to ship direct if adequate facilities should become available. A better opportunity to evaluate the situation will be provided by the McFadden representative’s expressed intention of coming to Warsaw in order to discuss with the Consulate General ways and means of reducing his firm’s outstanding Polish cotton credits.

An unusually well-informed trade contact of the Consulate General in Lodz has told this office that the real reason behind the requirement is pressure from direct steamship lines in an attempt to secure more cargo. The Manager in Poland of the American-Scantic Line, a Polish citizen, has openly expressed satisfaction at the move because of long-continued efforts on his and his company’s part to induce American exporters to use the company’s combined Gulf-New York-Gdynia services, with trans-shipment at Philadelphia. Similar through facilities could easily be arranged by the Polish Gdynia-America Line.

The Lodz informant states, however, that the spinners have protested vigorously against the measure, mainly because of the present too infrequent direct sailings from Gulf ports and of a desire to continue to have access to the main European cotton ports in case of urgent need. It should be pointed out, of course, that the Polish Government maintains that storage and other facilities at Gdynia have now been brought to the point where they are adequate for the spinners’ needs. In the light of past experience with Polish shipping and [Page 545] foreign trade policy, it is difficult to believe that the Government will continue to postpone the direct-shipment requirement once adequate shipping facilities become available, despite the resulting further infraction of the ninth paragraph of Article VI of the American-Polish Commercial Treaty.

The Consulate General will continue to report important developments in the matter as they occur.

Respectfully yours,

Thomas H. Bevan
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