711.162/27: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Salvador (Engert)

39. Your 61 August 25, 11 a.m. Unconditional most-favored-nation clause desired chiefly on the following grounds:

Section 317 of the Tariff Act of 192228 contemplates equality of treatment in order to avoid the necessity of levying penalty duties. This policy has already been expressed in twelve signed treaties and modi vivendi, with more in negotiation. Only unconditional most-favored-nation clause would assure United States of Salvador’s lowest customs rates since Salvador’s discriminations against American commerce in favor of France and other countries result from reciprocity treaties. The United States accords extremely favorable treatment to Salvador’s exports, coffee and most of the others being admitted free. See Department’s 41 October 20, 1924, 3 p.m. In 1924 more than three and one-half million dollars worth of Salva-dorian products were admitted free into the United States. Upon products valued at less than one-tenth of this amount were duties imposed. Of all imports into the United States from other countries approximately four-sevenths came in free and approximately three-sevenths were dutiable. The United States does not ask especially favorable treatment but only the removal of discriminations against its commerce. Salvador would thus gain the assurance that equality of treatment in the United States would be continued.
The policy of reciprocal equality is fair and just to both parties and productive of good will in international relations, whereas discriminations bring special privileges to some at the expense of others and so tend to injure good relations. Department hopes that Salvador, particularly in view of close relations with the United States, will accept treaty clause for reciprocal equality of treatment such as obtains between the United States and not only the remainder of Central America but most of the other countries as well. Exceptions to equality of treatment are deemed admissible in special cases for such reasons as contiguity. Thus Salvador may reserve the right to favor other Central American republics and the United States reserves the right to favor Cuba.

You may if advisable base informal written communication on the foregoing.

  1. 42 Stat. 858, 944.