500.C1199/241: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul at Geneva (Gilbert)

113. Your 374, September 30, 2 p.m. Please arrange to see Dr. Saavedra Lamas at the earliest opportunity and tell him that I deeply appreciate his message and that nothing could have afforded me greater satisfaction than to learn that he is disposed to lend the invaluable support which his own individual prestige and his eloquence will afford to the furtherance of liberal trade policies in the course of the discussion of international economic affairs in the Assembly.

I have read his suggestions with great interest. In view of the shortness of time, it seems to me that the purposes which both he and I have in common will be best served by emphasizing and by dramatizing the conclusions and judgments embodied in the recent report of the Economic Committee insofar as it relates to most-favored-nation [Page 467] policy and exchange stability. These seem to me an excellent summary of the situation and an admirable indication of the way forward. In reply to his specific question as to “what he could best do now and in Geneva” I should think both of the steps he mentioned feasible: (a) action in the Second Committee leading to the formulation of a resolution in support of the conclusions ordered in the report of the Economic Committee; and (b) endorsement and dramatization, in the manner in which he is so successful, of this resolution in his closing address to the Assembly. His address on this theme might well serve to bring home to the Governments of the representatives present that all reports and resolutions will remain only reports and resolutions until the Governments of the world act and actually modify the excessive and burdensome restraints and restrictions on trade.

The line of presentation I have summarized above would appear to me to fit in well with the prospective program for the Buenos Aires Conference.

With specific reference to the four points mentioned in Paragraph 3 of your telegram under reference, it may well be that at this immediate juncture for reasons of expediency points (b) and (c) might be passed over. With regard to points (a) and (d), I feel that the text of the resolution adopted at the Montevideo Conference sets forth in simple and convincing language the considered policy of all of the American Republics with reference to the interpretation of the most-favored-nation clause in its relationship to regional agreements and in connection with the negotiation of bilateral commercial agreements.

You may assure Dr. Saavedra Lamas that this interchange of views will be regarded as strictly confidential.

In conclusion you may say that Ambassador Espil, when he leaves Washington next week for Europe, will take with him draft projects embodying the provisions which this Government hopes may receive the support of the American Republics at that Conference; that the Ambassador is fully conversant with the views of this Government and with the background of their elaboration; and that I hope to receive, as soon as may be possible after Dr. Saavedra Lamas has been afforded an opportunity of conferring with Dr. Espil, the benefit of Dr. Saavedra Lamas views with regard to these draft projects, as well as such amendments or modifications as he may be good enough to suggest.