The Counselor of the British Embassy (Marris) to Mr. Thomas K. Finletter, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State
Dear Mr. Finletter: London have instructed us to consult the United States Government about a proposal put up by the Bangkok Branch of the East Asiatic Company, the effect of which it is hoped would be to interfere with Japanese purchases of Tin and Wolfram ore.
Our Minister in Bangkok favours the proposal and London agree that his conclusions are right. They want to be assured however that the United States Government has no objection and asked us to consult you as soon as possible.
The East Asiatic Company point out that all open tin ore produced in Thailand, amounting to about 500 tons a month, and the entire production of Wolfram, amounting to about 60 tons a month, is now being sold to exporters in Bangkok chiefly for the Japanese market. The East Asiatic Company desires to re-enter the metal market in cooperation with a well-known local firm, Messrs. Yip in Tsoi. The intention would be to set up an organization to receive ore in Malaya from the producers and/or dealers in South Thailand on a consignment basis for sale by private tender. Sales would only be made to approved buyers which would at present have to include local Japanese buyers, but not buyers on behalf of enemy interests.
The East Asiatic Company point out that as a result of restrictions their export business has virtually come to a standstill and in order [Page 312] to cover overhead expenses they are very anxious to find some fresh activity.
Sir John [Josiah] Crosby favours the proposal in that it will enable the firms named to regain a footing in the metal market and states that the activities of the proposed organization will not have the effect of increasing the diversion of ores to Bangkok. He adds that in the event of British or American buyers wishing to participate the existence of a friendly organization would be an advantage.
It is also mentioned by London that this proposal if approved will result in the establishment of an organization which could later be used for preemption if such proved desirable.
I would be grateful for the Department’s comments at your earliest convenience.