611.5231/645: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Spain (Laughlin)

20. Your telegram No. 24, March 30, 4 p.m. The Department of course understood and believed that the Foreign Office assurance reported in your telegram No. 12, February 7, 11 a.m., referred to the extension to us of most favored nation treatment to all products. You did not make any mention of a “list” or of any suggestion that any products at present or in the future imported would be excluded from most favored nation treatment. The Department naturally assumes that no such intimations were made to you.

Complete most favored nation treatment is the only kind that this Government grants or could recognize. In view of our legislative framework we could not consider any such proposal as that outlined in your telegram No. 24. As a basis of commercial policy the American Government could not entertain a proposal for it to submit a “list” of products for which it desired most favored nation treatment, for the reason that we ourselves extend most favored nation treatment to all Spanish products and must expect to receive for our products this treatment in Spain.

Please take this up with the Foreign Office immediately making our position entirely clear on the basis of this and previous telegrams to you. The Department cannot approve the suggestion that negotiations covering both the Spanish tariff discrimination against us and Spain’s alleged trade complaints against the United States be hereafter conducted simultaneously in Washington. The arrangement for separate discussion was made in order to avoid confusing the issues, and I believe that this situation still holds and that the question of Spain’s tariff discrimination should continue to be handled by you in Madrid, especially since the above mentioned misunderstanding there has now come to light. This makes it obvious that you should press for fulfillment of Calderon’s promise to you [Page 536] on the basis of complete most favored nation treatment and should give the matter the benefit of your personal authority in negotiation until that treatment has been effectively obtained.