The Secretary of State to the Belgian Ambassador (May)
Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of July 9, in which Your Excellency suggested the advisability of instituting a thorough and methodical study of the economic problems existing in the commercial relations between Belgium and the United States with a view to the eventual conclusion of a mutually advantageous trade agreement between the two Governments. In particular, Your Excellency advocated the early preparation by each country of a full memorandum of its desiderata.
The American Government takes pleasure in acceding to the suggestions outlined above, the more so as they coincide with its view that it would not be opportune to undertake formal negotiations for such an agreement at once, but rather that exploratory studies be made by both Governments with a view to determining whether, if negotiations were instituted, a mutually satisfactory agreement would be likely to result. Inasmuch as the Belgian Government likewise views with favor the objectives and procedure herein set forth, this Government [Page 80]will promptly set up a Committee of Experts to undertake a thorough study of the trade and tariff relations between the two countries with a view to formulating concrete proposals regarding the concessions or commitments which would be sought from Belgium under such an agreement. The American Government further understands that the Belgian Government will undertake similar studies regarding the concessions or commitments which would probably be sought from the United States under such an agreement.
When these studies shall have been completed and the results communicated by each Government to the other, consideration can then be given to the question of whether or not it would serve a useful purpose to proceed with the negotiations.
May I assure Your Excellency that I am deeply sensitive to the sympathetic understanding with which the Belgian Government is following the efforts of the Administration here to help restore prosperity, both national and international. I am well aware of the liberal principles which have in the past guided Belgium’s commercial policy and sincerely hope that it will prove possible through mutual agreement to increase the flow of trade between our respective countries.