641.0031/64: Telegram

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

323. I saw Chamberlain at a lunch, as indicated in my 319 of June 19, 7 p.m., and gave him a copy of your memorandum which he had not seen. He said in the near future he wanted to continue the conversation reported in my telegram 315 of June 18, 6 p.m.36

I met Runciman at a luncheon today and after a conversation on the present unsatisfactory international situation referred to the world’s economic ills and asked whether he had seen the memorandum I delivered Eden on Friday last. He said yes and then went on to point out that he was facing negotiations for the renewal of some of British trade agreements most of which were for a period of a year as with the northern European countries, but the Argentine treaty for a longer period with a proviso for its abrogation after due notice. The past practical results of these agreements he could not overlook.

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He went on to explain as his own personal views that while he favored such a declaration as outlined in your memorandum he felt it would be more effective should it not be an isolated statement of policy but be followed by announcement of practical achievement between our two countries. His definition of this latter was somewhat vague. He said he had in mind in this connection “commodity relation between countries”. He felt that after study between our two countries we might evolve an agreement on certain definite lines against tariff increases.

We were interrupted at this point but he left me with the impression that he wants to play for time in view of his trade negotiations.