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810.796/5: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Venezuela (Engert)

[Paraphrase]

WASHINGTON, March 3, 1928–6 p. m. 5. Your telegram No. 5, February 17, 1 p. m. The Department considers that representatives of the United States Government should not initiate or conduct private business negotiations on behalf of private American interests with foreign governments. You should not, therefore, approach the Government of Venezuela in the matter as suggested. Of course the Department expects the Legation to give all proper assistance to responsible American interests engaged in legitimate activities in foreign countries, and you may give such assistance to the representative of the interests in question. Department is informing Department of Commerce.

KELLOGG

810.796/5

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The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Commerce (Hoover)

WASHINGTON, March 3, 1928. . SIR: The Department has received a telegram from the American Chargé d'Affaires ad interim at Caracas, referring to a confidential communication dated January 12, 1928, sent by the Transportation Division of the Department of Commerce to its Caracas office on the subject of air line concessions in Venezuela and inquiring whether the Legation should institute inquiries with a view to obtaining the Venezuelan Government's attitude towards the proposed air line.

It appears from the Department's information that the American interests concerned have not themselves taken up this matter with the Venezuelan Government, and are relying upon representatives of the United States in Venezuela to take the initial steps.

The Department of State expects its representatives abroad to render all proper assistance and support to responsible American interests in their legitimate activities abroad. It is, however, the practice of this Department to avoid having the representatives of this Government abroad initiate or conduct private business negotiations with foreign governments on behalf of private American interests.

In view of the above considerations, this Department, after careful consideration, feels, in the light of the information at hand, that it is not in a position to instruct the American Legation at Caracas to take up this subject with the Venezuelan Government, and has instructed the Legation to that effect. The Legation, however, will of course give all proper assistance to a representative of the American interests in question. I have [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:

FRANCIS WHITE
Assistant Secretary

810.796/5 supp. : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Venezuela (Engert)

[Paraphrase)

WASHINGTON, March 10, 1928–4 p. m. 7. Your telegram No. 5, February 17, 1 p. m., and Department's telegram No. 5, March 3, 6 p. m., in reply.

Endeavor in an informal and discreet manner to ascertain the attitude of the Government of Venezuela toward the establishment by American interests of commercial air lines in Venezuela, or air lines connecting Venezuela with neighboring nations and the United States. Without further definite instructions, do not make any statement which could possibly be interpreted as favoring any specific interest or any particular project.

This information is desired by the Department simply for its guidance when advising American interests which may inquire as to the probable attitude of the Government of Venezuela toward the possible extension of air lines to Venezuela or the establishment of air lines within that country.

KELLOGG

810.796/8

The Chargé in Venezuela (Engert) to the Secretary of State No. 1502

CARACAS, March 13, 1928.

[Received March 30. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Departments confidential telegram No. 7 of March 10, 4 p. m., regarding the attitude of the Venezuelan Government towards American interests desiring to establish air lines in Venezuela or between Venezuela and neighboring countries.

In reply I have the honor to refer to the Legation's despatch No. 1497 of March 6 10 in which I reported that Mr. Frederic D. Grab, the Assistant Trade Commissioner, had had an interview with the Minister of Fomento on this subject. As stated in Mr. Grab's letter of March 5 to the Department of Commerce, a copy of which was enclosed with despatch No. 1497, the Minister of Fomento did not appear to hold out much hope that an application for an air line would receive favor

16 Not printed.

able consideration. However, as this inquiry related more specifically to a proposed line between Maracaibo and Curaçao, the Department may perhaps desire me to make discreet inquiries as to the attitude of the Venezuelan Government towards commercial aviation in general. But before taking any steps in that direction I shall await further instructions from the Department. I have [etc.]

C. VAN H. ENGERT

810.796/8

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Venezuela (Engert) No. 1248

WASHINGTON, May 26, 1928. Sir: With further reference to the Department's confidential telegram No. 7 of March 10,4 p. m., and your despatch No. 1502 of March 13, 1928, regarding the attitude of the Venezuelan Government towards American interests desiring to establish air lines in Venezuela, or between Venezuela and neighboring countries, you are informed that it is the intention of certain American aeronautical interests, operating with the approval and encouragement of the United States Government, to interest themselves within a short time in the carrying of air mail and passengers in the Caribbean area, probably establishing a connection between Panama and Venezuela via Colombia. There is now a bill pending in the United States Congress to authorize the United States Government to give financial assistance to air lines to Central and South America. It is important for the success of their endeavors that the Venezuelan Government grant no exclusive concessions to foreign aeronautical interests to operate in Venezuela, and it is of course highly desirable that the Venezuelan Government grant no concessions at all to foreign interests for air transport in Venezuela until the American companies above mentioned have had an opportunity to develop their project, since any concessions to operate air lines in Venezuela might in effect serve to prevent American interests from establishing a line. The United States, as you know, has always felt very strongly that an "open door” policy in such matters is best qualified to benefit all concerned.

The Department desires you to seize a favorable opportunity to discuss this matter informally and confidentially with President Gomez, intimating that the United States Government would be happy eventually to see Venezuelan and American aeronautical interests joined in the development of aviation in Venezuela, and that this Government would appreciate it if the field were kept open pending the maturing and presentation of American projects which are now being considered. I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:

FRANCIS WHITE

810.796/16: Telegram

The Chargé in Venezuela (Engert) to the Secretary of State

CARACAS, July 3, 1928–4 p. m.

[Received July 3–11:15 a. m.] 70. Department's instruction No. 1248, May 26th. For various local reasons it seemed best not to approach the President direct, but the substance of the last paragraph has been informally conveyed to him by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

No concessions appear as yet to have been granted to any foreign interests but the German Colombian Company has long been trying to obtain one and there is a vague British proposal for a line between Trinidad, La Guayra, Curaçao, Maracaibo.

ENGERT

819.796/17 : Telegram

The Chargé in Venezuela (Engert) to the Secretary of State

[Paraphrase)

CARACAS, July 3, 1928–5 p. m.

[Received 10:16 p. m.] 71. My telegram No. 70, July 3, 4 p. m. I have been given to understand that the United States has been rather slow in entering this field,17 and that it cannot hope to keep out foreign interests indefinitely

ENGERT

REPRESENTATIONS BY FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS WITH RESPECT TO SENATE BILL RELATING TO PAYMENT OF ADVANCE WAGES TO SEAMEN ON FOREIGN VESSELS

196.6/1070

Senate Bill No. 2945, 70th Congress, First Session 18

A Bill relating to the payment of advance wages and allotments in

respect of seamen on foreign vessels, and making further provision for carrying out the purposes of the Seamen's Act, approved March 4, 1915.19

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the first paragraph of paragraph (e) of section 10 of the Act entitled "An Act to remove certain burdens on the American Merchant Marine and en

18

11 See telegram No. 23, July 11, 7 p. m., to the Chargé in Venezuela, p. 787.

Introduced in the Senate by Mr. La Follette, Jan. 27 (calendar day, Jan. 31), 1928; read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce.

10 38 Stat. 1164.

courage the American foreign-carrying trade, and for other purposes," approved June 26, 1884, as amended, is further amended to read as follows:

“(e) This section shall apply to payments of advance wages and allotments, in respect of seamen on foreign vessels, whether made within or without the United States or territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof, as well as to payments of advance wages and allotments in respect of seamen upon vessels of the United States; except that no criminal penalty under this section shall be imposed for a violation of this section in respect of a seaman upon a foreign vessel if such violation occurs outside the United States and territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof. The courts of the United States shall be open to seamen for suits for payment of wages, irrespective of whether the wages were earned upon å vessel of the United States or a foreign vessel, or within or without the United States or territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof, and in any such suit the provisions of this section shall be applicable. Any master, owner, consignee, or agent of any foreign vessel who violates the provisions of this section within the United States or territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof shall be liable to the same penalty to which the master, owner, or agent of a vessel of the United States would be liable for a similar violation."

196.6/1064

Memorandum by Mr. C. B. Hosmer, Division of Foreign Service

Administration, of a Conversation With Mr. J. Balfour, First Secretary of the British Embassy

WASHINGTON, February 25, 1928. Mr. Balfour desired to discuss the provisions of Senate Bill 2945, introduced by Senator La Follette. This bill seeks to impose upon foreign vessels which enter ports of the United States, the same restrictions which are now imposed against American vessels in regard to advancements of wages to seamen shipped in foreign ports.

In the case of Jackson et al v. the Archimedes, decided by the United States Supreme Court on January 3, 1928,20 it was decided that American vessels are prohibited from making advances to seamen shipped by them in foreign ports; this reverses decisions reported in 248 U. S. 185 and 248 U. S. 205, which were rendered before the amendment of the law by Section 32 of the Act of June 5, 1920.21

I suggested that I was not in a position to speak for the Department regarding the proposed bill, but assured Mr. Balfour that if he desired to take the matter up with the Western European Division, I would be glad to contribute such knowledge as I have in the premises, if asked to do so. He appeared to be content at present with a

30 275 U. S. 463. 41 Stat. 988, 1006.

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