611.5431/78

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Moffat)

The Swiss Minister called on Mr. Sayre this morning. He came to confirm the news he had given over the telephone that in order to show its good will the Swiss Government had withdrawn its declaration of quotas for next year and pledged itself to keep the present quotas pending negotiations and at least up to the completion of the trimester in which negotiations might possibly break down. Mr. Sayre said that he assumed that this applied to all quotas and not merely to automobiles. The Minister confirmed this saying that his telegram to which he had just received a reply was not limited to automobiles but covered all forms of American imports.

The Minister then brought up the question of the time for negotiations. Mr. Sayre explained the program in which we were engaged, the number of committees we had working, the number of men who were being driven day and night. He agreed that we would hurry things along and agreed to set as a goal the exchange of desiderata for the month of December. The Minister thought this was very slow, particularly in view of the fact that Switzerland had yielded to our wishes in the quota matter. He was afraid that the Swiss Government would feel that having obtained an advantage, we wished to push it further by delaying conversations to take advantage of a situation that had been stabilized in our interest. It finally became clear, however, that if we would give public announcement of the intent to negotiate with Switzerland during the month of October, the Swiss Government would be able to make out a good case to its public.

With regard to the locus of negotiations, Mr. Peter once again indicated the virtual impossibility for Switzerland to carry them on in Washington. Mr. Sayre replied that we were almost in the same situation with regard to carrying them on in Berne. In other words, we did not have sufficient trained personnel to send abroad for individual negotiations. Further, the negotiations were part of a large program and if we should agree to hold any one set of negotiations abroad, we would be placed at a disadvantage in refusing the same request from others. What Mr. Sayre had hoped was that we could exchange desiderata and advance a considerable way on the path of [Page 740]negotiation through the normal channels of diplomacy, and that at the end we might persuade Mr. Stucki4 to make a brief trip over here. We realized that his time would be short but we could undertake to put all the forces of the Department to work to hurry things through. We would like this not only in connection with the trade promotion work but we would like Mr. Stucki to see through personal observation the working of our economic system and to make the acquaintance of our leading exponents of economic, financial and commercial thought. Mr. Peter said that Mr. Stucki had been here recently but Mr. Moffat reminded him that this was before the change of Administration which had so completely altered the situation from the three angles we had mentioned. Mr. Peter then said that as far as he was concerned, we would leave the question open and revert to it at a later date.

Pierrepont Moffat
  1. Walter Stucki, Chief of the Commercial Division of the Federal Department of Public Economy of Switzerland.