Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Latin American Affairs (Wilson)

The Argentine Ambassador telephoned me this morning and said that he understood that in the Brazilian trade agreement2 the duty on processed mate had been reduced. He wanted to inquire whether the tariff concessions granted Brazil would be generalized to other nations whether or not such countries had an unconditional most-favored-nation treaty with the United States.

I told Dr. Espil that our trade agreements program was based on the principle of unconditional most-favored-nation treatment and that therefore the concessions which we granted in a trade agreement to the products of a certain country would as a general rule, in the absence of such special considerations as might be involved in discriminations against the United States, be extended to like products of other countries. Dr. Espil said that Argentina in her recent treaty with Great Britain3 had by decree generalized the concessions given to Great Britain to other countries regardless of whether or not such countries had an unconditional most-favored-nation treaty with Argentina. For instance, while the 1853 treaty between Argentina and the United States4 was of the conditional type, nevertheless the concessions given Great Britain had been generalized to the United States. I mentioned that a year or more ago there had been some question as to certain concessions which Argentina had given Germany; that I believed Argentina had not extended these concessions to the United States on the ground that the 1853 treaty was of the conditional type. However, I said that I had no hesitation in stating that my own view [Page 267] was that under our trade agreements policy we would generalize to other states, in the absence of any discrimination, and hence to Argentina, such concessions as we had granted to Brazil. I said that, as the Ambassador wished to have an authoritiative statement on this point to report to his Government, I would be glad to obtain a ruling in the Department and advise him.

Edwin C. Wilson
  1. Signed February 2, 1935; for text, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 82, or 49 Stat. 3808. For correspondence regarding negotiations see pp. 300 ff.
  2. Roca–Runciman Treaty, signed at London, May 1, 1933, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cxliii, p. 68. The treaty was supplemented by a tariff agreement and protocol signed at Buenos Aires, September 26, 1933, ibid., pp. 79 and 82.
  3. Hunter Miller (ed.), Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, vol. 6, p. 269.