Memorandum by the Assistant Adviser on International Economic Affairs (Livesey)

Mr. Warren Pierson21 telephoned that the Yugoslav Minister has called on him regarding implementing the cotton credit line [loan] which the Bank has undertaken to make available to Yugoslavia.

Mr. Pierson made a stalling reply, suggesting that the Bank’s commitment had expired. To me, however, Mr. Pierson said that the Bank has a right to cancel its commitments of this kind on short notice, although this is not definitely expressed in the record of the Yugoslav matter.

The Department’s records show that the Department telegraphed the American Minister at Belgrade on June 12:

“Bank suggests willingness to increase amount involved in immediate transaction to $500,000 with the idea that perhaps at a later date amount can be substantially increased. If approved, please request National Bank to designate American commercial bank to act as agent.”

The American Minister replied on June 15 that the Minister of Finance told him on that day that he would gladly accept credit for $500,000 and would shortly notify the American Minister of the name of the commercial bank designated to negotiate.

The American Minister telegraphed on July 622 that the Minister of Finance told him on that date that he would telegraph J. and W. Seligman and Company of New York and ask them whether they would act as representatives of the State Mortgage Bank of Yugoslavia in negotiations with the Export-Import Bank.

The statement of activities of the Export-Import Bank of Washington, February 12, 1934 through July 8, 1939, filed with Senate and House Committees this July and published in committee hearings, includes among cotton credits the information that a $500,000 credit applied for by Banque Nationale du Royaume de Yougoslavie was approved June 9, 1939 and that under it a commitment of $500,000 was “now available to exporter”. Mr. Pierson asked for any comment or suggestion from the Department of State as to how the Bank should reply to the present approach of the Minister of Yugoslavia.

  1. President of the Export-Import Bank of Washington.
  2. Telegram No. 184, not printed.