The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Honduras (Gibson)

No. 703

Sir: With reference to your despatch No. 1413 of May 10, 1935, and to the Department’s telegram No. 20, of June 3, 1935 (3:00 p.m.), there is transmitted herewith Schedule II18 of the proposed trade agreement with Honduras. Please present this list to the Foreign Minister, reserving the right, of course, to make such further changes therein as may be necessary prior to definitive approval of the agreement by both Governments. A factual report18 analyzing our import trade during recent years in the items included in the draft—Schedule II submitted by Honduras—is also enclosed for your information.

You may inform the Foreign Minister that this Government has made every effort, in compiling Schedule II, to meet the desires of the Honduran Government. In the case of several items, notably resin, straw hats and reptile skins, imports into the United States from Honduras have been either negligible or non-existent in recent years, hence concessions thereon to Honduras would be inconsistent with our policy of extending concessions on specific commodities only to chief or important suppliers. This Government would be glad to consider further the possibility of sub-classifications in the United States Tariff to cover these items in the event evidence can be submitted by Honduras of a character that would justify such procedure.

[Page 742]

You should make it entirely clear, however, to the officials of the Honduran Government that while this Government is not now able to make concessions to Honduras on items such as those mentioned in the preceding paragraph and oranges, lemons, limes, cashew nuts, onions and garlic, in which the Honduran Government has expressed interest, it is not unlikely that concessions will be made in future agreements to the chief or important suppliers of some of those articles. In that event, Honduras may benefit by being in a position to receive the concessions made to other countries as a result of our policy of generalizing tariff concessions to all nations which do not discriminate against the commerce of the United States.

You will note that cocoa or cacao beans have been added to Schedule II in the belief that this concession may be of some interest to Honduras. Also included, for the same reason, are concessions on prepared or preserved guavas, mango pastes and pulps, and guava pastes and pulps. These items appeared in the trade agreement with Haiti,18 which took effect on June 3, 1935. Fresh mangoes are denied entry into the United States by Bureau of Plant Quarantine, regulation 56, effective on November 1, 1932.

With reference to the request of the Honduran Government that gold and silver be bound on the free list, you may, if you are questioned in regard to this matter, advise the Honduran Government that this Government regards the exportation and importation of gold and silver as primarily monetary rather than trade matters, and for that reason is not prepared to make tariff commitments thereon a subject for discussion in connection with trade agreement negotiations with foreign countries. In order to be consistent with this position, this Government is reserving the right in the last paragraph of Article XIV of the General Provisions of the proposed Trade Agreement, which have already been submitted to Honduras, to adopt measures prohibiting or restricting the exportation of gold or silver.

The Department will shortly forward to you Schedule I revised in the light of Honduras’ reply to this Government’s original proposals. I trust that the agreement can be prepared for signature and signed in the near future. In this connection, please report on the status of the General Provisions and concerning the facilities available to the Honduran Foreign Ministry for engrossing the agreement. Full powers authorizing signature must also be prepared by this Government and by Honduras.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Francis B. Sayre
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. See pp. 642 ff.