The Minister in Uruguay (Wright) to the Secretary of State

No. 574

Sir: It will be recalled that in the course of the VII International Conference of American States,1 President Terra of Uruguay handed to me for transmission to you the Spanish text of a project for a commercial treaty2 between Uruguay and the United States—a translation of which I delivered to you and the general subject matter of which was discussed by you with Señor Marques Castro, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in a conversation which he held at your office at the Parque Hotel. It will also be recalled that Uruguay’s desires in this regard were advanced by the Uruguayan Delegation in the First Subcommittee of the Ninth Commission of the Conference.

In order that this matter may be made of record and laid before the Department in a manner which will permit of its consideration in connection with all phases of the question, I have the honor to transmit herewith:3

The original Spanish text of the proposed Commercial Treaty, which was handed to me by President Terra and which was prepared in the Foreign Office by Señor Marques Castro (according to information subsequently received from the latter).
Translation thereof.
Copy of the proposal regarding quotas and import licenses presented by Señor Marques Castro at the First Subcommittee of the Ninth Commission of the Conference.
Translation thereof.

At the time when the President handed me this draft with the request that it be transmitted to you for your consideration, he informed me that he considered the results of the Ottawa Agreements4 very unfortunate for Uruguay, and that he believed that the American packing [Page 642] interests in Uruguay were already feeling the effects of this agreement and would soon feel them more severely. The President then observed “if this reaction upon the exports of our principal commodity continues, Uruguay will be ruined in five years”.

He then emphasized the importance to Uruguay of revenue from this source—observing that while Argentina and Brazil, also exporters of cattle, had other products upon which they could rely, Uruguay was limited by conditions of topography and soil to principally pastoral pursuits. As a basis upon which to restore tariffs, or as a norm to which mutually advantageous comparisons might now be made, he referred to the tariff situation of 1928 which had been favorable to both nations, adding that the sale of American automobiles in Uruguay had at that time been satisfactory to us but that the automobile business at the present time was far from satisfactory—sales having been greatly reduced on account of lack of exchange and the Uruguayan demand far from satisfied for the same reason.

President Terra closed his remarks by expressing the hope that a solution might be proposed which would be practical and not theoretical.

As I reported to you at that time, I informed President Terra that although you were not in a position to discuss bilateral commercial treaties at this time, both the draft of the treaty and the President’s observations would receive your attentive consideration—particularly in their relation to the economic principles that might emerge from the Conference, which had not at that time discussed the broader economic phases as set forth in your proposal. You will also recall that in your conversation with the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs you informed him that the tentative provisions of the treaty, the problems advanced by the Uruguayan Delegation, and all other relevant matters, would be considered by our Government in due course.

Since the close of the Conference the matter has not again been broached to me, but it may be said that the matter of Uruguay’s export of meat and meat products is as much to the fore as it ever was—especially in connection with the newspaper reports that cattle breeding interests in the United States have requested the Tariff Commission to raise the tariff on meat imports (as reported by telegraph in my telegrams Nos. 3 and 5 of January 5 and 13, respectively5) American exporters, and Uruguayan importers of American goods, are faced in increasing degree by a continuing demand for certain American products which the producers are less and less inclined to furnish unless some solution be found by which the “frozen” peso accounts accumulated from previous sales may be released.

Respectfully yours,

J. Butler Wright
  1. See Foreign Relations, 1933, vol. iv, pp. 1 ff.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Enclosures not printed.
  4. The trade agreements concluded during the Imperial Economic Conference at Ottawa in 1932. See British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxxxv, pp. 161 ff.
  5. Neither printed.