The Minister in El Salvador ( Corrigan ) to the Secretary of State

No. 93

Sir: With reference to Department’s airmail instruction No. 42 of October 26, 1934 regarding the increased tariff on cotton imported into El Salvador, I have the honor to report that this matter had already been touched upon in my despatch No. 90 of October 23, 1934.39

The Department’s attention is invited to the fact that El Salvador has not yet expressed the desire to negotiate a Trade Agreement with the United States. This Legation reported in despatch No. 65 of August 31, 193439 that the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Doctor Miguel Angel Araujo, informally and orally agreed in principle but his note of August 28, 1934 said that the matter had been referred to the Finance Minister. Legation’s telegram No. 48 of August 31, (5 p.m.) in reply to Department’s telegram No. 32 of August 30, (7 p.m.) informed the Department that the Foreign Office felt that for the present it would be preferable not to give public notice of intention to negotiate an agreement with El Salvador until after the Finance Minister had had an opportunity to study the subject. Apparently overlooking the information furnished in this telegram, announcement was made that El Salvador had agreed to undertake conversations looking to a trade agreement. Inasmuch as this publication appeared simultaneously with like publications regarding other Latin American countries, it produced no reaction here. El Salvador therefore is not yet in the position of having expressed a desire to negotiate a commercial agreement.40

This cotton tariff law is purely nationalistic in its motivation and does not represent an attempt to raise a duty before starting to negotiate a treaty in order to be in position to make an apparent concession later which would not be a concession in fact but a return to status quo ante.

I have already called the attention of the Minister of Foreign Relations to the fact that this legislation was directly contrary to the attempt now being made to break down trade barriers. The Minister of Foreign Affairs agreed with my opinion, but expressed inability to do anything about this law which had been passed by the Legislative Assembly to encourage cotton growing in the country.

Considering the above facts, does the Department still desire me to [Page 262] again point this out informally to the Minister of Foreign Affairs before he has had the report of the Finance Minister on the whole subject of the trade agreement conversations?

Respectfully yours,

Frank P. Corrigan
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. For information that El Salvador was ready to enter into conversations regarding a new trade agreement, see despatch No. 107, November 30, 1934, from the Minister in El Salvador, p. 277.