561.35E1/107: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Bingham) to the Secretary of State

4. My despatch No. 1875, December 18,2 and previous. Informal note from Foreign Office received this morning proposes reconvening of International Sugar Conference, substance being as follows:

(1) Discussions with interested governments of British Commonwealth now completed and all these governments are prepared to participate in further international discussions. British Government accordingly now feel able to consult with foreign interests immediately affected. Their view is that any new sugar regulation agreement must have wider scope than old Chadbourne agreement,3 covering all those countries capable of having substantial effect on free market of sugar, and that free market is not further diminished by the increase of artificially stimulated production in importing countries. Difficulty of securing sufficiently wide agreement is fully recognized but certain progress has been made since conference of March 1934. British Government feel it would be a mistake to hold conference with no prospect of success and would not feel justified in arranging a conference without assurance from all ex-Chadbourne countries that they see definite prospect of agreement if free world market can be stabilized at a figure certainly not higher than 2,500,000 tons per annum, and possibly less. Before proceeding, therefore, British Government are seeking assurances on this vital point from Chadbourne countries.

(2) On assumption satisfactory assurances are obtained, their proposals for a conference are as follows:

Any further conference at this stage must necessarily be of a preliminary nature. It would be useless to try even in favorable circumstances to secure representation of every country whose eventual accession [Page 522] will be necessary to the success of the scheme but if some satisfactory agreement could be reached at a conference, necessary assurance could be sought from other countries capable of affecting the position. British Government attach importance to the principle that any agreement should include provision for reduction of government assistance to sugar production as prices rise; but working out of that in detail would be matter for the proposed conference.

(3) With reference to details of procedure, British Government would propose that the conference should be held, like that of March 1934, under the auspices of the World Monetary and Economic Conference4 and that invitations should be issued from Secretariat of that Conference. Question of which governments should be invited is of first importance. British suggestion is that these countries should be all those represented at Conference of March, 1934, with addition of following: British Dominions of Australia, Canada and the Union of South Africa, British indicated Santo Domingo, Brazil, France, Italy, Japan and Russia. British assume that the Philippines would be covered as before by the United States delegation. British consider it important that conference should not be held without participation of any country whose adherence to the agreement was regarded as essential by any of the other participants, and accordingly they would propose to ascertain unofficially whether those countries would accept an invitation, before any are issued.

(4) British think conference could most conveniently be held in London and that the League of Nations would probably provide necessary Secretariat assistance, if possible, by staff of International Sugar Committee. In the British view delegations should be kept as small as possible and purely official, representatives of various sugar industries being present, if at all, solely in capacity of advisers with no voice or vote in proceedings. United Kingdom delegation would almost certainly be headed by a Cabinet Minister.

(5) British Government consider it desirable before going further, to consult with countries who were represented at Conference of March 1934. Their provisional conclusions are therefore being put semi-officially to Dr. Colijn5 on behalf of the Netherlands East Indies, and to International Sugar Committee on behalf of other ex-Chadbourne countries, as well as to the United States Government. They request to be advised as early as possible whether the United States would be likely to accept an invitation on basis outlined above and, if so, whether we have any observations on the points brought forth. Full copy of note forwarded by the pouch today.6

  1. Not printed.
  2. Signed at Brussels, May 9, 1931, by Cuba, Java, and the chief European sugar exporting countries; for text, see International Sugar Council, Document C. D. 242: Memorandum on the Aims and Provisions of the International Sugar Agreement of 9th May 1931, Annex I.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1933, vol. i, pp. 452 ff.
  4. Hendrik Colijn, President of the Netherlands Council of Ministers, Minister of the Colonies, and Minister of Defense.
  5. Despatch No. 1897, January 3; not printed.