500.C1112/113: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva (Gilbert) to the Secretary of State

94. The Committee on Raw Materials met in private from March 8 to 12. Rist was unable to attend and was not represented. Stucki was elected chairman.

1. From conversations with Grady I learned:

All members took part in the general discussion.

Grady pointed out that for the United States the problem of raw materials was primarily one of markets for our staple, agricultural and raw material surpluses hence one of commercial policy. He described in this connection the trade agreements program laying particular emphasis on the principle of non-discrimination which the program aims to advance. He urged that this principle be the basis of the approach to the problem of raw materials.

The Committee recognized that the question of the redistribution of colonies was outside its terms of reference. The discussion related chiefly to a general survey of the problem and method to be followed by the Committee.

The most significant indications of positions were as follows: The British attitude was negative. Leith-Ross while not obstructive showed little enthusiasm and indicated that he saw little purpose in the Committee’s work other than its effect in deflating the question with respect to public opinion. The Polish member showed most interest and while endeavoring to cover the position taken by Germany and other “complaining” countries he admitted that for his country the problem was chiefly one of payment. The Russian emphasized the connection between general policy including rearmament and the difficulty of certain countries in obtaining raw materials. Shudo stressed the need for freer trade in finished goods and the exploitation of undeveloped areas.

The Committee directed the Secretariat to prepare a statistical study of certain raw materials including crude foodstuffs and decided to meet on June 21. For future work it was divided into two subcommittees, the first to deal with difficulties relating to supply such as export restrictions, the second, to which Grady was appointed, with difficulties of purchase and payment such as transfer, tariff policy including the open door question etc.

Mail report follows.27

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2. Grady’s speech was extremely well received both in the Committee and by the press.

  1. Despatch No. 2075 Political, March 19, not printed.