500.C1112/39: Telegram

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

118. Your 389, October 2, and Department’s 115, October 2. For your further guidance in continuation of the summary of the Department’s position given you in its 112 [115].

It is pleased by the news of the prospective French action in relaxing trade restrictions. It is following with close attention the discussions in the Assembly of the report of the Economic Committee since the principles and recommendations embodied in that report in its judgment are a promising basis for the further rebuilding of international trade.
The United States action has been directed along these lines under its trade agreements program. Its disposition to assist in maintaining monetary stability as a factor in the restoration of international trade is shown by the recent gentlemen’s agreement in that field reached with Great Britain and France.
All American action in the trade restrictions field has been and must continue to be carefully and thoroughly measured and in accord with the full requirements of the Trade Agreements Act.40 In the commercial agreements already signed by the United States and in its adherence to broad principles such as those now supported by the Economic Committee, the United States has taken the initiative. The opportunity is now before the countries represented at Geneva to share the same initiative and to support the same principles. Further progress towards the rebuilding in international trade in this way can be carried forward if they will act to reduce some of their own trade restrictions and apply the broad principles of equality in the field of international commerce.
This is the clearly indicated line of practical action. We wait to see such action taken. We believe that individual and concurrent action by the governments concerned and represented at Geneva offers the greatest possibilities at this time. If, however, various European countries wish to enter into conferences with each other to discuss the terms and methods of simultaneous action, their efforts will arouse interest here. However, the Department does not wish to make any commitments of any kind in that connection.
The substance of the foregoing may be freely communicated to the French, the British, the Secretariat and other responsible officials.
  1. Approved June 12, 1934; 48 Stat. 943.