Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Culbertson) of a Conversation With the Belgian Negotiators

Those Present:

For Belgium: For the United States:
Mr. Pierre Forthomme Mr. Sayre6
Mr. Camu3 Mr. Grady7
Mr. Raoul Grenade4 Mr. Moffat8
Mr. Antoine Beyens.5 Mr. Culbertson

After introductions and the usual exchange of pleasantries, Mr. Sayre opened the discussions by setting forth in broad outline the provisions of our general program, laying emphasis on the need for an expansion and development of international trade. He said that it would not be our intention to balance concession against concession, it being hoped that the final result of the negotiations would be a step in the lowering of tariff barriers which should result in the advancement and development of the trade between the two countries.

Mr. Forthomme, the principal Belgian negotiator, replied by saying how happy the Belgian Government had been to know of President Roosevelt’s program, and how heartily the Belgian Government supported this idea; that the Belgian Government had endeavored to initiate a similar thought some few years back and had been unable to do so. It was hoped that this program, championed by a great country such as the United States, would end in success. Mr. Forthomme then asked what procedure Mr. Sayre wished to follow, and Mr. Sayre stated that Mr. Culbertson was Chairman of the American [Page 104] Committee, and suggested that perhaps the negotiators go to the conference room and map out a program. Mr. Forthomme explained that the Ambassador, he and one or two others had to go to the White House at five o’clock and that it would be possible to initiate discussions at once.

Mr. Grady and Mr. Culbertson then took the Belgian negotiators to the conference room, where they were introduced to Mr. Louis Ballif9 and Mr. Leigh Hunt,10 who are to assist in the negotiations. After some very general conversations it was agreed that a meeting would be held Saturday morning at ten o’clock.

P[aul] T. C[ulbertson]
  1. Assistant Secretary of State.
  2. Of the Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs.
  3. Chief of the Trade Agreements Section.
  4. Commercial Counselor of the Belgian Embassy.
  5. Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs.
  6. Second Secretary of the Belgian Embassy.
  7. Chief, Sundries Division, U. S. Tariff Commission.
  8. Of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Department of Commerce.