The Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 4, 1938.]
Sir: Referring to the Department’s instruction No. 4140 of August 16, 1937, enclosing a copy of a letter dated August 9, 1937,20 from Mr. Charles R. Weaver of the Automobile Manufacturers Association, of Washington, D. C., concerning alleged inequality of treatment on the part of the Swiss Government in the matter of automobiles shipped on consignment, under bond, to dealers in Switzerland, and in further reference to my last report on this subject as set forth in my despatch No. 130 of December 8, 1937, I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy, with English translation, of a note dated December 17, 1937,21 from Dr. Hotz, Director of the Commercial Division of the Federal Department of Public Economy, in reply to my informal note of October 12 last,21 a copy of which was enclosed with my despatch No. 65 of October 22, 1937. While maintaining the view that “the conventional most-favored-nation clause does not apply to customs regulations covering temporary importation for uncertain sale, the principle of reciprocity being mandatory for this kind of trade,” Dr. Hotz in his reply informs me that subject to cancellation “in case of imperious necessity,” authorization has now been given to the customs bureaus to grant passavants valid for six months in favor of automobiles imported from the United States into Switzerland for uncertain sale.
Subsequent to the despatch of my last report in this case, Dr. Hotz telephoned me and asked me to call upon him on Friday last, December 17, at the same time saying that he would have a favorable reply for me in response to my letter of October 12, and that he also desired to speak to me further with regard to the four percent tax on customs receipts, with respect to which I am reporting in a separate despatch of this date.
At our interview Dr. Hotz handed me his reply to read and then stated that if, in practice, it should be found desirable to extend the period for which passavants are to be valid, and if I were to bring the matter to his personal attention, he felt confident that it would be possible to make the necessary arrangements.
Dr. Hotz went on to emphasize his personal desire to make our commercial agreement an effective instrument for the enhancement of our trade to our mutual advantage and benefit as also his intention and wish to do his part in ensuring its successful operation. He had been happy, he said, in finding in this instance also a willingness to cooperate and a desire to accommodate on the part of the Direction [Page 577] General of Customs. He hoped that his reply would give us satisfaction. I expressed my appreciation of his interest in the matter and said that I would avail myself of his kind offer to consider extending the period set for the validity of the passavants in the event that this should prove to be desirable.