Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Culbertson)

On Thursday I arranged for Mr. Camu to talk over with Mr. Lee Strong23 questions involving sanitary restrictions against Belgian horticultural products. I asked Mr. Camu to come in to see me after his meeting with Mr. Strong.

I gained the impression from Mr. Camu that his reception at the Department of Agriculture had not been any too sympathetic. There were two questions involved: (1) with regard to the packing of bulbs imported into the United States from Belgium, and (2) the question of Agriculture giving early consideration to sanitary problems in relation to begonias and gloxinias. According to Mr. Camu bulbs are now permitted importation from Holland when they are packed in sand. Similar privileges have not been extended to Belgium, although Mr. Strong said that if the Belgian Government requested such treatment, it would be granted. Mr. Camu brought with him a letter signed by Mr. Forthomme, requesting that this treatment be extended to Belgium. A copy of Mr. Forthomme’s letter has been sent to Agriculture this morning.

I think it will be worth while looking into this question of Agriculture obliging one Government to request privileges similar to those gratuitously extended to another.

Mr. Strong apparently explained to Mr. Camu that the Department now has under consideration the whole question of bulb importations from foreign sources, and as a result of this consideration it has been announced that certain bulbs will be permitted importation sometime in 1936. Mr. Camu asked Mr. Strong whether it would not be possible for the Department of Agriculture to give early consideration to gloxinia and begonia bulbs. This Mr. Strong refused to do, and when I talked over the telephone with him later he seemed resentful that the Belgians should endeavor to find out what his Department had in mind doing in the future. Mr. Strong complained that they were working on fixed principles and apparently had no intention of changing these principles to meet a situation of this sort. I explained to Mr. Strong that it would be most helpful in these negotiations were it possible for the Belgian negotiators to give their horticultural interests in Belgium some encouragement, and if it were possible to do something in relation to gloxinia and begonia bulbs, it would be much appreciated. He rather reluctantly said that he would talk to Secretary Wallace about the matter.

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While I probably do not know all the considerations to be borne in mind, it looks to me like these two cases represent on the part of Agriculture an adamant position and an unwillingness to go along with us in trying to work out our trade agreements. On the other hand, Agriculture is very insistent that we obtain concessions for agricultural products from foreign governments.

P[aul] T. C[ulbertson]
  1. Chief, Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, Department of Agriculture.