Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Hugh S. Cumming, Jr., of the Division of European Affairs

Participants: Mr. Sayre, Assistant Secretary of State,
Mr. Morgenstierne, Minister of Norway,
Mr. Cumming, Division of European Affairs.

During the course of a conversation this afternoon, Mr. Morgenstierne said that at the time of his recent visit to Norway it had been suggested by private interests that some method might be found possible, through negotiation between the Norwegian Government grain monopoly and private interests in the United States, by which surplus American wheat might be exchanged for Norwegian whale oil. While Mr. Morgenstierne was not quite clear in his exposition of the proposal, apparently it was contemplated that the Norwegian grain monopoly would assist the whale oil exporters through some export bounty which would compensate them to the extent of the increased excise taxes now imposed on imports of whale oil into the United States.

Mr. Sayre said that while the proposal seemed interesting, he could not at the moment see any practical way of carrying it through under existing American law. He suggested, however, that Mr. Morgenstierne elaborate his plan in an informal manner, which then would be given careful study by the Department of State. Mr. Morgenstierne agreed to do so, and emphasized that he was conveying his proposal to the Department in a purely informal and unofficial manner.

Mr. Morgenstierne added, confidentially, that the author of the plan was Mr. Hans Bull.17

  1. Hans Bull-Øvrevik, Norwegian businessman.