611.5531/355: Telegram

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

7. Your 11, February 15, 1 p.m. The Under Secretary talked with Mr. Forthomme this afternoon and told him of developments here, pointing out to him frankly that the political situation here had substantially changed since we initiated discussions, and that by reason of this development it has been necessary for us to revise our proposals by making duty reductions on a number of items less drastic than had been originally proposed to him. We have, therefore, revised our list by limiting our reductions to amounts varying from about 20 percent to 33⅓ percent, instead of the full 50 percent on many items, which had been originally suggested. Two or more items have been omitted and one or two items have been suggested for binding at [Page 112] the present rate rather than a reduction. It is felt that there nevertheless remains substantial basis for a satisfactory agreement. We will go over the lists in detail tomorrow. I hope the Belgian authorities will understand and sympathize with our difficulties and will lend their fullest cooperation in an effort to arrive at a satisfactory understanding between the two governments.