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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

Belgium,   pp. 219-237 PDF (7.1 MB)

Page 232

  Another instance may be found in the arbitrary regulations con-
cerning the importation of American linseed oil cake. The practice
in the past has been to utilize American linseed oil cake carrying ap-
proximately 9%o of moisture with other cake containing larger
amounts up to 15%o the combination working out at the legal limit
of 12%o. At the instance of local interests the authorities have now
issued a regulation preventing the addition of any moisture to the
linseed oil cake during the process of crushing, even in order to bring
it up to the legal proportion of 12%o, with the result that American
cake, if used alone, sustains an appreciable loss. This is a clear case
of arbitrary regulations enforced for the purpose of restricting Amer-
ican imports. (See Annex VI of the enclosed memorandum.)
  The Embassy has been in constant touch with this general subject
through frequent calls at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and other
Ministries as regards specific cases. However, in the light of the ac-
cumulated evidence of the serious inroads that are being made on
American trade, I think the Department will agree that it is desirable
to make representations bearing upon the whole scope of the Trade
Agreement. In view, however, of the importance and delicacy of the
entire subject I do not feel that I should take it upon myself to make
representations of this character without the knowledge and approval
of the Department. The reaction of American interests in Belgium
has now reached a point where I feel that this is a matter of some
urgency and trust therefore that I may be afforded the benefit of the
Department's instructions if possible by telegraph.
  Unless the Department prefers some other method of approach
I should like to bespeak its consideration of the following sugges-
tions. I think it would be wise for me to call on the Minister for
Foreign Affairs and Foreign Commerce, M. Spaak, as soon as possible
and hand him a memorandum accompanied by certain carefully con-
sidered remarks. In order to indicate what I have in mind, I venture
to submit herewith a tentative draft of such a memorandum for the
Department's approval or to serve as a basis of alternative instruc-
tions. As will be seen, this memorandum is confined to a rather
direct statement as to the nature of the infringements which have
come to the notice of the American Government of both the terms
and spirit of the Trade Agreement, concluding with a request for
adequate remedial action.
  On the last occasion I took the matter up with the Prime Minister
but that was because he was giving his personal attention to all eco-
nomic matters, and the present Prime Minister, M. Paul Emile Janson,
does not interest himself particularly in such matters; and I therefore
feel that it would be better to deal direct with M. Spaak.

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