Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Boal)
The Spanish Ambassador called with general reference to the progress of the presentation by officials of his Embassy of the Spanish trade complaints, and to repeat his earlier suggestion for a settlement of our tariff complaints and Spain’s trade complaints on a bargaining, quid pro quo basis.
With respect to the former, Mr. Boal stated that we anticipated that the presentation of the Spanish trade complaint cases would be concluded in two more meetings this week; that the Spanish officials had presented each case to date in the presence of the American officials technically competent to consider it and that the Ambassador could be assured that every effort would be made to meet their contentions. The Ambassador said that he hoped these complaints could be resolved promptly, adding that otherwise he did not see how his Government would be in a position to meet the American request. Mr. Boal said that he assumed that the Ambassador understood that whereas the Spanish complaints involving American administrative regulations might in several cases (which we are carefully studying) be settled without delay, the Spanish complaints against the height of the American tariff (representing four of the nine complaints discussed to date) could not be settled expeditiously for the reason that the only ways in which tariff rates may be modified are either through action of Congress or through action of the President upon recommendations made, after investigation, by the Tariff Commission. Considerable discussion ensued on this point during which the Ambassador stressed the importance to the Spanish Government of obtaining a reduction in certain of the American duties, particularly that on olive oil.
With regard to Ambassador Cárdenas’ suggestion for a settlement on a bargaining basis, Mr. Boal repeated what he had already stated in conversation with the Ambassador ten days ago to the effect that [Page 533] it was neither our practice nor legally possible for us to enter into bargaining negotiations, and that what we asked was the same treatment in regard to all products as most favored nation in Spain. It became evident at this point that the Ambassador’s call had been caused by his receipt of a telegram from his Government inquiring as to why Ambassador Laughlin had not yet approached the Foreign Office, in view of the beginning in Washington of the trade complaint discussions.
While Ambassador Cárdenas showed very clearly that he (and probably his Government) are most anxious to reach a settlement, the Ambassador did not indicate that the Spanish Government will be prepared to extend most favored nation treatment merely because consideration of the Spanish trade complaints had begun in Washington, and before any complaints had been settled by us in their favor.
A telegram (No. 23, March 28, 3 p.m.6) has just been received from Ambassador Laughlin in which he urges that he be given authority to go to the Foreign Office and to recall the assurance given him two months ago that as soon as discussion of the trade complaints began, the Spanish Foreign Office would urge the Spanish Ministry of Commerce to give us most favored nation treatment.
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