The Acting Secretary of State to the Belgian Ambassador (Van der Straten-Ponthoz)

Excellency: I have the honor to refer to Your Excellency’s note of March 31, 1936,2 transmitting copies of the Belgian counter proposals to the draft of general provisions3 intended to complete the trade agreement signed on February 27, 1935, between the Belgo-Luxemburg Union and the United States of America.

You will recall that as negotiations for the Belgian-American trade agreement were concluded, it was understood that the general discussion of the provisions would be undertaken at an early date thereafter. It was thought that the negotiation of general provisions could be undertaken without further public hearings as provided for in the Trade Agreements Act of June 12, 1934.4 As a result of further consideration of this matter, however, it is the opinion of the Department of State that it will not be possible to supplement the present provisions of the agreement with additional provisions unless they are effected in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Section 4 of the above-mentioned Act. The prescribed procedure requires that public notice be given of intention to negotiate and an opportunity be given to interested persons to present their views in respect thereto.

I think you will agree with me that such a procedure, which might result in pressure for the renegotiation of the entire agreement, would be unwarranted at this time. I suggest, therefore, that the matter of supplementing the present provisions of the agreement by those [Page 11] of a more general character be held in abeyance until some more favorable opportunity to proceed with the matter presents itself.

Accept [etc.]

William Phillips
  1. Not printed.
  2. For text of standard general provisions, see Foreign Relations, 1935, vol. i, p. 541.
  3. 48 Stat. 943.