Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Phillips)

The Belgian Ambassador called this afternoon to say that he had just received a telegram from Foreign Minister Hymans to the effect that he had been very seriously questioned in the Chamber by the agriculturist bloc in connection with the trade agreement; it had become highly necessary for the trade agreement to be proclaimed at the earliest moment, otherwise the attacks against it might develop to such an extent as to endanger the agreement itself.

I explained to the Ambassador that we were most anxious to have the agreement proclaimed, but would like to have a slight delay, in order that certain other governments could be given time to negotiate and so have the advantages under the treaty with Belgium of unconditional-treatment. I mentioned that France was among the countries so concerned, that I had been speaking to the French Ambassador about it this afternoon, that he was still waiting instructions from Paris and that we did not wish to do anything to France which might be considered by it as brusque. I told the Ambassador that some of us had been suggesting April 10th for the date of our proclamation, but that the matter had not been definitely decided as yet by the Secretary and that I would let him know as soon as a date had been agreed upon.

The Ambassador expressed real concern about the situation which was developing in Brussels and urged as little delay as possible.29

William Phillips
  1. For text of proclamation, dated April 1, 1935, and statements of United States policy concerning generalization of tariff concessions, together with President Roosevelt’s letter of April 1, 1935, to the Secretary of the Treasury, see Department of State, Press Releases, April 6, 1935, pp. 209–248. See also vol. i, pp 536 ff.