The Under Secretary of State (Cotton) to the Secretary of State

The Secretary: The attached memorandum is all correct. I took this up with the President some time ago and also with the Chairman of the Conference Committee. I have letters59 from both Smoot and Hawley60 saying it is impossible to make the changes. The Department has done all it can to this end and has a clear record. There is no excuse for these countervailing duties, but I do not recommend further action.

J. P. C[otton]

Memorandum by the Chief of the Treaty Division (Barnes)

Mr. Cotton:

Mr. Secretary:

The tariff bill as reported to the two houses of Congress by the Conference Committee, on April 28, 1930, still contains five provisos, in Paragraphs 369, 371, 1402, 1650 and 1687, referring, respectively, to automobiles, bicycles, paperboard, coal and gunpowder, which require [Page 248] discriminatory duties and would operate in violation of the most-favored-nation clause of our commercial treaties.

The violation of the treaties could be avoided by the insertion in the bill of a section expressly exempting the treaties from the operation of the provisos. A draft section which would meet this situation is attached. It is suggested that you give consideration to the question of bringing the situation to the attention of the President with a view to his asking Congress to insert the section herein suggested in the bill before final passage.

The section suggested is as follows:

Sec. —. Nothing in the provisos in Paragraphs 369, 371 and 1402 of Title I, Section 1, and Paragraphs 1650 and 1687 of Title II, Section 201, of this Act shall be construed or permitted to operate in any manner to impair or affect the provisions of any treaty between the United States and any foreign nation.

[The paragraphs referred to are numbered according to the bill as it passed the Senate; paragraph 369 refers to automobiles; 371, bicycles; 1402, paperboard; 1650, coal; 1687, gunpowder.]61

C[harles] M. B[arnes]
  1. Not printed.
  2. Representative Willis C. Hawley, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
  3. Brackets appear in the original memorandum.