611.5531/334: Telegram

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

6. For the Under Secretary of State. Department’s telegram No. 4, January 30, 6 p.m. On February 2nd Sussdorff15 again explained carefully to Van Langenhove, Secretary General of Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our Government’s viewpoint regarding conclusion of a comprehensive trade agreement. Van Langenhove replied that the Belgian Government also is anxious to conduct the negotiations on a broad basis and is prepared to offer important concessions on a wide list of products including agricultural produce such as lard, apples, pears, and honey. He explained that there had been delay in cabling to the Belgian delegation in Washington what agricultural concessions could be offered because of the opposition from local agriculture, which made it necessary to work out carefully every question of detail before any agricultural concession could be offered. Van Langenhove stated that his Government is prepared to offer a reduction of duty on automobiles although not as large a reduction as on automobile parts. Van Langenhove said in conclusion that his Government hopes that the United States Government will permit the negotiations to be used to bring about a slight redressment of Belgium’s present unfavorable trade balance with the United States. He explained that in one important respect the Belgian Government [is?] in a worse position than the United States Government in the trade negotiations, namely, that the Belgian Government must submit any agreement reached to Parliament for its approval.

The Embassy will maintain close contact with the Belgian Government regarding this matter and will communicate any important information to the Department.

Morris
  1. Louis Sussdorff, Jr., Counselor of Embassy in Belgium.