The Chargé in Belgium (Sussdorff) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 101

Sir: I have the honor to report that in the course of a conversation which I had yesterday with Mr. Suetens, Chief of the Commercial Treaty Division of the Belgian Foreign Office, the latter inquired particularly whether sentiment in the Department of State favored the institution of negotiations for the conclusion of a commercial treaty between the United States and Belgium. In reverting to this subject later in the conversation, Mr. Suetens informed me that at its last session the Theunis Commission had decided to study the question of Belgium’s commercial relations with Canada and with the United States in the near future. He added that this study might be begun in two or three weeks. It will be recalled that the Theunis Commission is only consultative in character; but it is believed that it will play an important role in shaping Belgian commercial policy.

A search in the Embassy’s archives reveals that Mr. Phillips1 reported in his despatch No. 491, of May 5, 1926,2 that the Belgian Foreign Office was not inclined to initiate negotiations for a new commercial treaty with the United States at that time. In his despatch No. 156, of January 4, 1928,2 Mr. Gibson3 reported that nothing had come to his attention which might lead him to believe that there had been any change in that attitude.

In concluding his conversation with me, Mr. Suetens said that he would be glad if I could find out for him what the attitude of my Government is concerning the question of the institution of commercial treaty negotiations with Belgium.

The Embassy would appreciate telegraphic instructions from the Department, since it appears likely that the Belgian Foreign Office will repeat its inquiry in the above matter in the near future.

Respectfully yours,

Louis Sussdorff, Jr.
  1. William Phillips, Ambassador in Belgium.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Hugh S. Gibson, Ambassador in Belgium.