The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Spain (Crosby)
29. The Spanish Ambassador called yesterday by request and was informed:
- In our opinion considerable progress has been made with respect to the Spanish trade complaints, fifteen in number. Of the eight complaints regarding administrative regulations and requirements, [Page 543] three (mineral water, pimientos and tinned fish) seem to be entirely adjusted as a result of the discussions; regarding pharmaceutical products further information was requested; regarding Canary Island potatoes and straw braiding on garlic, we have made definite offers the acceptance of which on the bases outlined should settle these complaints; the Almeria grape embargo is still being considered and while no assurance can be made at present that it will be lifted, we are exploring every possibility; regarding the marking requirement on cork stoppers, we will communicate a definite decision shortly. The complaint as to labels is receiving attention and we assured the Ambassador that the use of any which seemed contrary to American law would be stopped. Regarding the six complaints as to the height of the tariff, we referred to the statement quoted on page 6 of the Department’s instruction 229, December 31, 1931,17 to Ambassador Laughlin outlining the basis on which discussions could be held, pointing out that we grant most favored nation treatment to Spanish products and that Spain well understands that adjustments in the American tariff can only be made (1) by Congress, or (2) by the President following a recommendation by the Tariff Commission. The Ambassador was informed that the door is always open for the initiation by Spain of action looking toward adjustment of rates by the Tariff Commission.
- The foregoing being true, the Ambassador was informed that we must now insist that Spain forthwith make effective the arrangement entered into between the Foreign Office and the American Embassy at Madrid by the exchange of notes of April 6 and April 23.18
- Otherwise we stated that we would have no alternative but to recommend to the President that the United States cease to accord most favored nation treatment to Spanish products, in accordance with Section 338 of the Tariff Act.19
- The Ambassador was likewise told that upon the receipt of information from you to the effect that Spain had made the arrangement pursuant to the exchange of notes effective, the marking requirement with respect to cork stoppers would be revoked. (Kindly do not refer to this point in any way.)
Your telegram 36, May 6, 5 p.m. We are not in the least enthusiastic about the Spanish suggestion that the American list be amplified for initial use to cover items beyond those at present [Page 544] involved in Spanish discrimination. Since we have the promise of the Spanish Government to act upon subsequent articles upon our request should special preferences be given other countries in the future, this would seem to afford ample protection to our interests. For your own confidential information I may say that we feel that the Spaniards might desire to use locally such an extended list of American products as evidence that we were trying to drive an unequal bargain. If, however, the Spanish insist on this point, please let me know.