The Minister in Switzerland ( Harrison ) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 15.]
Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s telegram No. 70 of November 17, 4 p.m., and to previous correspondence concerning inequality of treatment on the part of the Swiss Government in the matter of automobiles shipped on consignment, under bond, to dealers in Switzerland.
Since the Swiss authorities are taking more time to reach a decision on the representations made by the Legation than I had anticipated, in view of the favorable tenor of Dr. Hotz’s acknowledgement of my letter of October 12,19a I think it well to report to the Department at this time concerning the present status of this case.
At first I wish to say that when deciding to address my letter of October 12 to Dr. Hotz (despatch No. 65, October 22), I was fully mindful of the importance of not giving any indication that we in any way agreed with or accepted the Swiss contention that Article X of the trade agreement was not applicable to imports in bond. It was with the thought of adequately reserving our position as to the interpretation of Article X that I included in my letter to Dr. Hotz the phrase “irrespective of the point raised in the final paragraph of the letter of October 819a as regards interpretation of Article X of the trade agreement”. My decision to write to Dr. Hotz along the lines of my letter of October 12 was motivated chiefly by a desire to have this specific case of discrimination settled with as little delay as possible.
On November 23, by my direction, Mr. Bigelow called on Dr. Hotz. He reminded him that a definite reply had not yet been received to my letter of October 12 and expressed the hope that the Legation would soon be able to report to its Government a satisfactory settlement of the matter. Dr. Hotz made it clear that the Division of Commerce of the Federal Department of Public Economy was in favor of giving satisfaction to the American Government, but that they were having some difficulty with the Direction General of Customs. Mr. Bigelow took occasion to inform him of how strongly the American Government felt as regards the applicability of Article X to the case under consideration, and of its complete disagreement with the customs authorities’ view that Article X cannot be invoked in a case involving merchandise imported in bond.
Dr. Hotz has again urged the Direction General of Customs to reconsider the matter, and we are now awaiting the results of the Commercial Division’s latest intervention.