The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Germany (Geist)

No. 212

Sir: Reference is made to your confidential despatch no. 602 dated February 23, 193921a concerning the German desire to expand trade with the United States.

This despatch reports a conversation between Dr. H. Giebel, president of the Continental Import and Export Corporation of New York [Page 569] and Berlin, and Mr. Riddleberger of the staff of the Embassy, and encloses a memorandum22 of this conversation. In the memorandum of the conversation it is stated, among other things, that the plan which Dr. Giebel has in mind “is in its general outline similar to that in effect today for the cotton trade; that is, the proceeds from the sale of American agricultural products would be deposited in special accounts in German banks to be utilized for the purchase of a selected list of goods.”

Since the reported conversation with Dr. Giebel took place, the United States Treasury Department has announced the imposition of countervailing duties on imports from Germany, and there is enclosed for your convenient reference a copy of the Treasury Department’s statement to the press no. 16–80 of March 18, 1939 announcing that the Treasury decision referred to is to be published in the March 23 issue of Treasury Decisions. This press release also contains a copy of the opinion of the Attorney General23 with respect to the above Treasury decision. The Treasury decision referred to appears to answer the proposal of Dr. Giebel with regard to increasing German trade with the United States along the lines which were in effect with regard to the cotton trade.

In connection with the general question of barter trade between Germany and the United States, reference is made to this Department’s confidential instruction no. 31 of April 28, 1938.24

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Francis B. Sayre
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. 39 Op. Atty. Gen. 261; Department of State, Press Releases, March 18, 1939, p. 203.
  4. Foreign Relations, 1938, vol. ii, p. 418.