The Acting Secretary of State to the Diplomatic Representatives in the American Republics

Sirs: It has been brought to the Department’s attention that Argentina is attempting to build up its merchant marine through a system of preferences and discriminations. In this regard pressure is being brought upon other countries by Argentina to include a provision in treaties or agreements under negotiation whereby each country shall take necessary measures to assure that the transportation of merchandise shall take place in vessels of the two contracting countries on an equal tonnage basis.

In Washington, D.C., October 24–30, 1946 during its Second and Final Session the United Maritime Consultative Council representing eighteen maritime nations, was unanimously of the opinion that an Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization be established through the machinery of the United Nations as a permanent agency in the shipping field. Delegations from the following countries participated: Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Greece, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Union of South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, and [Page 255] Yugoslavia (represented at the meetings by an observer). It is expected that the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations will shortly request the Secretary General to convene a diplomatic conference of interested governments to meet in the autumn of 1947 if practicable, to further consider the Draft Convention approved by the Council. Article I of the Draft Convention describing the scope and purposes of the Organization proposes “to encourage the removal of all forms of discriminatory action and unnecessary restrictions by Governments affecting shipping engaged in international trade so as to promote the availability of shipping services to the commerce of the world without discrimination.”

The maritime history of the United States of America indicates that nations indulging in policies of discrimination inevitably reap the dubitable rewards of retaliation.

I enclose a memorandum prepared within the Department under date of March 24, 1947 entitled “Shipping Discriminations”62 for your appropriate use.

The Department is concerned about the current trend in some countries, as evidenced by treaty provisions and by local legislation, towards the adoption of policies of flag discrimination. Accordingly, any comments, statements, or proposed laws, regulations, or treaty provisions, coming to your attention and bearing upon this general situation should be reported to the Department.

Very truly yours,

For the Acting Secretary of State:
Walter A. Radius
  1. Not printed.