The Secretary of State to the Chargé in the United Kingdom (Johnson)
1661. Your 2623, December 14, 3 p.m. Before receipt of the British reply, please bring the following additional considerations urgently to the attention of the Foreign Office:
- The Rockwood proposals were made as the result of direct encouragement from the Colonial Office. They not only entailed a substantial expenditure, but will place the company in an embarrassing position if the arrangements which were approved in principle are now turned down.
- Rockwood and Company is obviously not the type of firm which unfortunately happened to be represented by … but is a long established and fully responsible American concern. It states that it has 20,000 pounds on deposit in West African banks for immediate cocoa purchases if a quota is granted.
- The reasons assigned for limiting the operation of the Government control scheme to established companies are not regarded here as wholly convincing. In particular, it seems difficult to understand how the British Government can permit itself to be intimidated in war time by an apparent threat on the part of the established firms not to cooperate in the control, except on the understanding that none but they should be allowed to participate.
- If the British authorities definitely feel that no new company can be admitted to share in the quotas allocated to the established firms, it is at least believed that the quota formerly set aside for German trading firms in British West Africa should be made available for American participation. This would relieve the British fear of overproduction in relation to demand and could impose no hardship on the established companies. As a minimum requirement for the present season, it might satisfy the American interests involved.
Please keep the Department informed by telegraph.