611.5431/498a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Wilson)

70. The Swiss Minister has called twice within the last week under instructions from his Government to seek assurance that resort will not be made by this Government to the escape clause of the Trade Agreement as a result of Swiss devaluation. He was informed that while this Government could not bind itself as regards future action, it had no present intention of invoking the escape clause and that it probably would not do so unless imports from Switzerland began entering this country in such quantity as to depress internal prices of particular commodities.

You should utilize every appropriate occasion to emphasize to the appropriate officials of the Swiss Government the importance which this Government attaches to the restoration of international trade through the progressive relaxation and abolition of quotas and similar import restrictions as necessary concomitants to stability and international exchange and as essential to that real prosperity upon which peace depends. You may also intimate that pressure may be brought to bear upon this Government to abrogate the Trade Agreement in view of the impetus to Swiss exports which may result from devaluation of the Swiss franc and that this Government will be in a much better position to withstand such pressure if it can be shown that the Swiss Government has taken measures to facilitate the entry of American products into Switzerland. In this connection the decree of October 2 reported in your 78, October 3, noon,4 is gratifying to this Government.

It is noted that the instructions cited in your 77, October 3, 11 a.m.,5 allow wide discretion to the competent departmental authorities in liberalizing import regulations. The Department desires that you follow the situation very closely and insist that in accordance with our trade agreement American trade receive a fair share of all advantages resulting from any relaxation of Swiss import restrictions.

  1. Not printed; the decree abolished or reduced duties on 18 classes of foodstuffs (654.003/183).
  2. Not printed.