File No. 103.96/557
The Ambassador in France ( Sharp ) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 16, 12 p.m.]
3902. War Trade Board [from McFadden], attention Woolley for Baruch, War Industries Board:
No. 95. A formal meeting of the Inter-Allied Metal Conference was called today by the French Minister of Munitions. The Conference was attended by official [delegates] of the French, British, Italian and United States Governments. The particular subject under discussion at the conference was the supply, distribution, etc., of wolfram.
We were requested to present the reply of the United States in connection with the recommendation of the Conference of February 21 as described in our cable No. 383 which has since been approved [Page 570]by the Associated Governments, other than ourselves. We replied that the United States preferred to [reserve] its decision in connection with the said recommendations, both as regards wolfram and all other metals, pending a conference of delegates of the Associated Governments for the purpose of discussing the subject, which we desired should be held in Washington. It was the sense of the meeting, in view of the fact that it would be impossible to hold a conference of this character in the immediate future, that therefore the United States should provisionally approve the recommendations of February 21 in connection with wolfram, for the reason (1) in order to avoid competition between the agents of the respective Associated Governments in the producing markets, such as Portugal, Bolivia and China; (2) it was felt that the distribution and allocation for wolfram, as recommended in the resolutions of February 21, was on an economical and scientific basis as regards the distribution and employment of tonnage.
The British and French delegates were of opinion that an increase in the price basis f.o.b. of wolfram in such markets as Portugal, Bolivia, China, etc., would not lead to an increase in production and Sir [Leonard] Llewellyn was of the opinion that it would probably have the reverse effect in certain markets. It was suggested by the British delegates that the world’s production of wolfram be geographically divided for the purpose of effecting purchasing without competition, leaving the question of subsequent allocation of same entirely separate to be later determined. The French delegates, supported by the British delegates, expressed the desire to be the exclusive buyers of wolfram in the Portuguese market, and further requested that the entire Portuguese production of wolfram should be allocated to France. The British delegates supported by the French suggested that all purchases of wolfram in Bolivia, or other countries in South America, should be effected by agents of the War Industries Board, and the question of subsequent allocation of same to be later determined.
Our reply to both the British and French was that we were not authorized to either approve or disapprove any of the above suggestions, but we again stated that it was the desire of the War Industries Board to invite an immediate discussion of subject, not only of wolfram, but of all other metals heretofore covered by the Inter-Allied Metal Conference at Washington, and in consequence of same the following resolution was approved:
The Inter-Allied Metal Conference at the suggestion of the American delegate recommend that a meeting of the delegates of the different [Page 571]inter-Allied Governments be held with the least possible delay at Washington in order to examine all questions dealing with non-ferrous metals and alloys.