The State Department yesterday had under consideration an investigation into the charge made by the United States Lines, Inc. that the German government is interfering with the free movement of freight shipping.
According to officials of the U. S. Lines, an order was issued by the Reich government invoking the use of service of German boats by German importers. The order applies to transportation of freight between Hamburg and New York.
The effect on other non-German shipping lines, including the United States Lines and the Baltimore Mail, has been markedly increasing since the order was issued, it is reported. There has been a distinct decline in the volume of German-American commercial traffic in other than German ships. According to the U.S. Lines, transportation of Christmas products manufactured in Germany is being handled almost exclusively by German lines.
Basil Harris, vice-president of the U. S. Lines, said that he had information to the effect that Germany seeks 100 per cent of the commerce of its citizens for the German ship lines. The German government recently brought about the merger of the North German Lloyd and Hamburg-American lines, the two most important German flag lines operating in the foreign trade, and influenced the appointment of officials to strengthen the Nazi influence in their operations.
“I know of no case wherein the ship lines of other nations have been obliged to appeal to the State officials of their government as a result of the tactics of American ship lines,” said Mr. Harris. “There is no official influence brought to bear in this country to force freight into American ships, nor does any other government except Germany, as far as we know, attempt such tactics.”