611.5531/24: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Belgium (Morris)

5. Your despatch 101, January 4. I am not clear as to the nature of the commercial treaty which Suetens has in mind but assume that he has in view a trade agreement involving reciprocal customs concessions. You should state that the necessary plans and arrangements have not as yet been perfected for extending to additional countries the reciprocity program which this Government has begun. It will be glad, however, as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made, to include Belgium among the countries with which it would enter into early negotiations. Discussions are at present being confined to a few countries whose products are more largely non-competitive with those of the United States than are those of Belgium.

It is possible that legislative authorization for the Executive to enter into reciprocity agreements may be enacted by Congress.5 I prefer not to institute any new discussions with countries from which the United States imports competitive products until it has been ascertained whether such legislation will be enacted. You may so advise the Belgian authorities in confidence.

  1. Act approved June 12, 1934; 48 Stat. 943.