740.00112A European War 1939/4979

Memorandum by the Acting Chief of the Division of World Trade Intelligence (Dickey)46

At a meeting held in Mr. Acheson’s office Thursday, December 11, attended by representatives of the European Division, the Near Eastern Division and the Division of World Trade Intelligence, it was decided—subject to your approval—that the Proclaimed List of Certain Blocked Nationals should be immediately extended to include all firms and persons appearing on the British Statutory List for Sweden, Switzerland, Spain (and possessions), Portugal (and possessions), and Turkey.

General Considerations

It is believed that the principal advantages of so extending the Proclaimed List are political. In view of the state of war which now exists between the United States and Germany and Italy it seems desirable that this Government should appear to the remaining neutral countries to be acting in complete concert with Great Britain. It is believed that under the circumstances the neutral countries concerned as well as the people of the United States would expect such action to be taken.

In view of existing controls and current conditions it is not probable that so extending our Proclaimed List would have any great effect over the movement of trade. Although it is possible that the existing controls would be perfected somewhat it is probable that this action would, however, have more direct effect in controlling financial transactions. It is impossible to state precisely how great this advantage would be but the British Embassy has informed us that the Ministry of Economic Warfare considers that the advantage would be a very material one and of considerable assistance to them.

The extension of our list to other countries outside this hemisphere would probably be well received in the other American republics and [Page 316] would eliminate the present appearance of discriminating against these republics in confining our Proclaimed List to this hemisphere.

If our list is to be extended to these European countries, it is desirable for political considerations that there should be no divergence between our list and the British Statutory List. Any such divergence would be capitalized by the Germans and Italians. As a practical matter, if we are to act swiftly, it is necessary to adopt the cases on the British List since existing difficulties in communication make it impossible for us to secure rapid and full reports on these matters. Our missions have been under instructions since July 24 to forward information concerning firms which might be considered for the Proclaimed List and they have been instructed to exchange information with their British colleagues to this end. However, we do not, as yet, have adequate reports for the independent preparation of the list from several of the countries.

Since the British have been primarily concerned with the problem of maintaining satisfactory relations with these countries while engaged in waging war with the Axis, it seems logical and wise to follow their lead in any listing policies which we might adopt with respect to these countries. It is believed that any differences on particular cases in the future can be worked out satisfactorily between our respective missions and through the presence of our observer on the Black List Committee in London. In turn, it may be expected, as has been the case, that the British will more and more follow our lead on cases in this hemisphere and that Washington will be the coordination center for hemisphere listing policies. We would, of course, retain full freedom of action to delete or not to add any European cases on which there was disagreement.

Considerations Concerning the Specific Countries


It would not be practicable or advisable to extend our list in Sweden to cover all pro-Axis firms or firms of Swedish nationality which maintain trading relations with the Axis. The British have a comparatively small list for Sweden and they have stated that for the most part they have followed a policy of confining their list in Sweden to Axis-owned or Axis-controlled firms. Our mission has indicated that the British list has been prepared with at least the tacit approval of the Swedish Government. Our mission has previously expressed the view that it would be better not to have a Proclaimed List for Sweden. Telegram no. 822 of December 11, 4 P.M.48 from the mission (apparently prepared before the state of war was known) states that the [Page 317] British list contains firms of Swedish ownership; that a certain amount of good-will would be lost in having a Proclaimed List for Sweden and that the only advantages would be coordination with the British and some assistance in administering the navicert system. The mission felt that a Proclaimed List might in the light of our financial and commercial arrangements with Sweden be interpreted by the Swedish authorities as an indication of lack of confidence in them and their undertakings not to permit the reexport of United States imports. The mission further indicated that the British may extend their list in Sweden. In the light of the state of war which now exists it is not believed that these factors ought to be determinative. If we are to extend the list to Europe it ought to cover all neutral countries without discrimination. The British listing policy is keyed to their war interests, which are now ours, and if a United States list is to be extended to Sweden the British list ought to be used.


The British have informed us that their listing policy in Switzerland has also been based primarily on enemy ownership or control but they have probably gone somewhat further here than in Sweden. The control of financial transactions is probably more important in the case of Switzerland than elsewhere. Our mission has not indicated any specific views either for or against the extension of our list to Switzerland. It is to be noted that this Government has requested Switzerland to represent our interests in Axis countries.


The British have a comparatively long list for Spain and although enemy ownership or control has been the primary basis for listing firms here again the listing policy has gone further than in the case of Sweden. Our Embassy has made a careful investigation of the British Statutory List cases for Spain and has recommended that our Proclaimed List be extended to Spain and include some 350 cases contained on the British list. The Embassy suggested that some twenty cases on the British list might be kept on our confidential list pending further checking. However, it does not appear that under existing conditions there would be any objections to including these cases on the Proclaimed List. Our Embassy has recommended the inclusion of more than 100 additional cases which are not presently on the British Statutory List. It is not believed that the British have consulted the Spanish Government very closely with respect to their listing policies but no particular political disadvantages are seen in extending our list to Spain by including all cases now on the Statutory List.

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The British listing policy in Portugal has been somewhat more restricted than in the case of Spain due to special considerations. No particular political disadvantages are perceived in extending our list at this time to Portugal on the basis of the firms included in the British list. Our mission has not as yet indicated any position on the question. The American Consul in Portuguese East Africa has recommended that our list be extended to that area.

It is to be noted that the British have used a confidential Black List more extensively in the case of Portugal than in any of the other countries.


At present Turkey is the only country among those mentioned which has not been brought under the Treasury freezing regulations. The British Embassy has informed us that the most recent war trade agreement,49 which was negotiated with Turkey within the last three months, provides that the British will not list Turkish-controlled firms merely because they are exporting to the Axis indigenous products in return for goods essential to the Turkish economy. Under this agreement certain Turkish-controlled firms will shortly be deleted from the Statutory List. The British would be able to furnish us with such prospective deletions for guidance in the preparation of our list. The British have discussed questions of listing policy with the Turkish Government but not generally the action to be taken on specific firms as in the case of Sweden.

Our mission has not expressed opposition to the extension of the Proclaimed List to Turkey in the reports received to date.


That the British Statutory List as it now stands, adjusted for pending deletions, be immediately adopted as the basis for a United States Proclaimed List for Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Turkey.
That our missions be instructed to take up with their British colleagues any cases which they believe should subsequently be added to or removed from both lists.
That the appended telegram50 be sent to our missions in these countries at once.
  1. Addressed to the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary.
  2. Not printed.
  3. An agreement in the form of two letters, first presented by the Turkish Government on August 25, 1941, amended in Anglo-Turkish negotiations (August–October, 1941), and finally accepted by the British Government on October 14, 1941; see Medlicott, The Economic Blockade, vol. ii, pp. 247–250.
  4. See quoted portion of telegram No. 5960, December 20, noon, p. 319.