641.67n3/2: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Great Britain (Atherton)

205. I have received recently a note from the British Ambassador, to which a “very early” reply was requested, informing me of the intention of the British Government to grant a unilateral preference to Palestinian produce imported into the United Kingdom, the degree of the preference to be the same as that accorded to goods “consigned from and grown, produced or manufactured in other mandated territories administered by” the British Government. The following is the actual text with certain omissions of the second paragraph of the note:

“His Majesty’s Government desire to enquire whether the United States Government feel any objection to this proposal, though they do not consider that the United States Government would be entitled under the most-favoured nation provisions of the Convention of Commerce between the United Kindom and the United States signed on July 3rd 1815 to claim that Imperial preference should also be extended to goods the produce or manufacture of the United States.”

My preliminary reply was a bare acknowledgment of the note with the request to be informed of the preferences apparently already granted to other mandated territories.

We have not yet decided as to the scope of our final reply. Particularly it has not been decided as to whether to take note of the general observation in the quoted paragraph on the general subject of Imperial preference; and if note is to be taken, what the form and substance of it shall be.

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Have you any suggestions as to what may best be replied at the present time as regards (1) the specific question of preference to Palestine; (2) the veiled declaration on Imperial preference.

Can you ascertain also whether other governments have been queried on the Palestine matter and if so, whether accompanied by the same declaration?