611.4131/148: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Atherton) to the Secretary of State

81. Reviewing his term of office at the Board of Trade, Runciman in a speech last night before the Bradford Chambers of Commerce stated in part:

“One thing, however, is certain—that the economic and fiscal and financial policies of the nations of the world are so interwoven that [Page 645] one could not be dealt with without touching the others. How is it possible, for instance, for the United States to throw down her tariff barriers so long as she maintains her present fiscal system. It is not for me to teach the Americans how to do their business but I have no hesitation in saying that the rapidity and volume of their trade would be vastly increased if the United States would release some of her stores of gold and if her attitude towards the borrowing nations was a little more adventurous as her own home policy.”

The best available press report of Runciman’s references to his trade agreements reads as follows:

“We hope to get into foreign markets by reason of these agreements and I intend to pursue that policy as long as I am where I am.”

He was not in the least frightened of that policy by being told that his agreements were open to criticism because there had been markets regained where hundreds of thousands and millions of pounds had been brought back to this country which could not have been obtained by other means. Some of the agreements were coming up for revision.

“Two things above all others we are going to keep in mind. One is that there are many debts owing to United States from abroad which we ought to be allowed to collect and in the second place that financial arrangements which naturally spring out of these agreements should be reciprocal. We like our accounts to balance but we are quite prepared to calculate our balance over a very wide area—not simply between one country and another but between countries as a whole. Unless we take that broader view of international trade we shall fail in our conception.”

In view of my interview with Eden, reported in my 79, February 26, 7 p.m., I informally asked the Foreign Office for the text of this speech concerning which they said they were ignorant but which they would endeavor to obtain.