The Secretary of State to the Portuguese Minister (Bianchi)
Sir: I have the honor to refer to conversations which took place at various intervals, and notably in March and July of last year, between yourself and officers of the Department regarding the possibility of an exchange of notes between the United States and Portugal with respect to shipping.
The United States is at present earnestly endeavoring to bring about a substantial reduction of trade barriers and to encourage a return by nations to the principle of equality of treatment in international economic intercourse. In the pursuit of this policy the United States has entered into agreements with several countries providing for reciprocal reductions in duties and general non-discriminatory treatment. Furthermore, negotiations are in progress with a number of countries and it is expected that negotiations will be initiated with several other countries in the relatively near future.
The Act of June 12, 1934,2 under the authority of which these trade agreements are being entered into, provides that the concessions granted by the United States in agreements with countries other than Cuba, shall apply to articles the growth, produce or manufacture of all foreign countries, except that the President may suspend the application of these concessions to articles the growth, produce or manufacture of any country because of its discriminatory treatment of American commerce or because of other acts or policies which in his opinion tend to defeat the purposes of the Act.
It is my Government’s earnest hope that it may be able, in harmony with its policy, to continue, as up to the present, to apply the concessions granted to trade agreements to articles the growth, produce or manufacture of Portugal. To this end I have the honor to propose that negotiations be initiated at once looking to the conclusion of a [Page 422]modus vivendi similar to the draft enclosed with this note which would regularize the general commercial relations between the United States and Portugal.3 This modus vivendi would take the place of the Commercial Arrangement effected by exchange of notes signed at Washington on June 28, 1910.4
It will be noted that the United States is prepared to include in the proposed agreement provisions whereby Portuguese producers of certain wines would be definitely assured, as long as the agreement continues in force, that such wines imported into the United States could be identified as products of the regions in which they are produced.
I should be glad to be informed whether your Government is prepared to conclude an agreement of this character and, if so, whether the proposed text meets with its approval.