560.M2/44: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chief of the American Delegation ( Wilson )


7. Your No. 8, October 19, 11 p.m. As some time may elapse before provisions of a convention to abolish prohibitions and restrictions become fully effective, and as numerous exceptions seem likely to be adopted, Department holds view that article 3 is of importance and wishes you to make every reasonable effort to have this article adopted approximately in form in which you proposed it in accordance with Department’s instructions.

Department is fearful that any provision in a multilateral convention less positive and inclusive than provisions it wishes to incorporate in its bilateral treaties will weaken its position in negotiating such treaties. Accordingly, question presents itself whether it might not be preferable to omit article 3 altogether if unobtainable in reasonably satisfactory form. Most of the other countries are probably parties to convention for simplification of customs formalities and are, in consequence, bound by its provisions whether or not it is quoted or referred to in convention now being drafted.

Essential portion of subdivision (e) is, in Department’s opinion, the part requiring granting of licenses and assignment of quotas and formalities of whatever kind to be equitable. If you are able to obtain provision substantially to this effect you may accept it and consent to omission of rest of other provisions of subdivision (e), including the one regarding normal value to trade.

Department perceives no serious objection to draft introduction as proposed by French starting at “In the event that”, but thinks drafting is not as good as your substitute. As meaning is substantially same, Department perceives no reason to change our draft. Not clear, furthermore, why French should object to declaration in agreement but should be willing to insert it in final act.

Rather than include nonbinding provisions in final act or elsewhere, the Department suggests for your consideration that, after the precedent of the Customs Formalities Conference of 1923, provisions be included when they are acceptable to most states but be subject to reservations by states finding difficulties. Before any such arrangement is proposed, however, please comment and request final instructions.

If you are not able to have included provision substantially equivalent to paragraph (e), report your recommendations and request instructions.

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Your suggestion that “to other contracting states” follow “quotas” is approved, but Department does not regard this matter as of great importance.