611.5231/242: Telegram

The Ambassador in Spain (Moore) to the Secretary of State


74. The short draft of the treaty was discussed in conference with the treaty commission on July 21. No objection to the form of the treaty was raised, and the commission indicated its willingness to accept the schedule with a few minor changes provided we make concessions on a half dozen or more articles in order to justify under Spanish law their giving us the treatment demanded. The commission stated that actual tariff concession was absolutely essential to an agreement.

Mr. Hackworth suggested that the question of what constitutes “equivalent advantages”, as the term is used in Spanish law, depends upon its interpretation, and that when the fact is taken into consideration that to place products of the United States on an unfavorable tariff basis will have as a result the raising of our tariff on imports from Spain, possibly even the prohibition of certain Spanish products, the avoidance of the possibility of such a situation’s arising might reasonably be thought a decided advantage within the meaning of the law.

The commission indicated that if they had not already negotiated a number of treaties in which the law of Spain was interpreted so as to require actual tariff reductions, it might be possible for them to accept our terms.

After a full discussion, the commission summarized the situation as follows:

Under the law of April 22, 1922, Spain can not make reductions below the second column except when made in exchange for reciprocal reductions on the part of other countries below their tariffs.
The United States can make no reduction whatever in her tariff.
There results a conflict of two tariff systems, and a problem is presented which can only be solved by the Government, namely, the Council of Ministers.

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