File No. 103.96/616
The Chargé in Great Britain ( Laughlin ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 10.20 p.m.]
10373. War Trade Board [from Sheldon]:
No. 697. Referring to your 561, Department’s 7942, May 25.1 I had an interview with the authorities here and think that they will agree to a preliminary discussion taking place in Washington on the subject of tin. I believe that they will be unwilling to grant authority to conclude an agreement except on very general lines and only after referring their recommendations in detail to London. Should by this means an agreement be reached on general principles, I am sure that it would be only on condition that the executive work be handled here subsequently by a tin executive. I have seen McFadden’s telegram No. 95 of May 152 in which he mentions a resolution adopted at the Inter-Allied Metal Conference in Paris recommending that a meeting of the delegates of the different inter-Allied Governments be held in Washington in order to examine all questions dealing with non-ferrous metals and alloys. I am informed that this should not be taken as meaning that the question of constitution of a tin executive should be postponed, and that the resolution was not suited to apply especially to tin except that whatever were done in the way of constituting a tin executive would later be coalesced into a general plan for handling all the non-ferrous metals on which a commission would sit in the United States.
I find an opposition here to delegating sufficient powers to any British representative now in the United States to make any agreement except of a very general nature as regards tin and, as I mentioned in a previous telegram, I think one can well realize the unwillingness on the part of the British to give up control of this metal which in the past has been so largely in their hands. At any rate as regards the Straits Settlements, the Colonial Office are very jealous of any interference on the part of other departments and the authorities here are very familiar with the best means of obtaining [Page 580] the maximum output and the methods of smelting and they have in their hands the best means of bringing pressure to bear for controlling the price. The constitution of an executive is considered a matter of urgent importance and I believe the Foreign Office are cabling fully their views to Lord Reading.