611.0031/1899

Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, who is on an unofficial visit to this country, called to pay his respects. Nothing official was discussed except that I volunteered to comment briefly to him about the moral effect of trade agreements between this Government and other governments in this hemisphere or elsewhere upon the industrial nations of Europe, which, it was hoped, would soon be disposed to proceed simultaneously with our Government in carrying forward our reciprocity trade agreements program, including exchange stabilization and the ultimate settlement of debts on a satisfactory basis.

I carefully explained to the Minister that mere bilateral trade agreements alone were only an initial and minor step in the direction of the big objective, which I thought this and all other countries should have uppermost in their minds and purposes, and which was the lowering of trade barriers simultaneously with the reopening of trade channels so that the $20,000,000,000 to $25,000,000,000 of international trade that had been destroyed by excessive trade barriers might be restored, and then this country and Costa Rica would get their full share of this vast amount of restored trade. I went on to say that this would be infinitely more valuable than any small increases of trade that might be brought about by twenty-five or fifty or a hundred mere bilateral bargaining trade agreements. I emphasized that this was the big way [Page 461]in which we were striving to aid countries like Costa Rica and that in this way would his country stand to profit enormously more than by mere bilateral treaties.

C[ordell] H[ull]