Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Sayre)

Mr. Chalkley called at my office by appointment at 10:00 o’clock. I handed him six copies of the mimeographed list of concessions27 [Page 16] which we deem as essential and which require modifications in the Ottawa Agreements. I explained to Mr. Chalkley that this list included only those commodities on which reductions were sought which would be in conflict with the Ottawa Agreements.

I also told Mr. Chalkley that we would like very much, in addition, a reduction on wheat,—that even a slight reduction, not sufficiently substantial materially to affect present wheat shipments, would aid us very greatly from a political and psychological standpoint and perhaps could be given without great cost. Mr. Chalkley smiled and remarked that to make such a proposal would seem that Canada would at once come back at us with regard to our own duty on wheat. I told Mr. Chalkley that while the concessions in the list were the vitally important ones for us I hoped nevertheless that something also might be done on wheat.

I then entered into a somewhat lengthy conversation with Mr. Chalkley as to the necessity for Great Britain and the United States to enter into a trade agreement because of the existing world situation. I told him that to my mind the world was not big enough for the continued existence of the two alternative policies—of trading on a basis of preferences and discriminations on the one hand and on the basis of equality on the other. I said that sooner or later one or the other of the two alternative systems would come to prevail and that a British-American trade agreement seemed to me essential if the latter system was to triumph throughout the world.

We had a long and very friendly discussion. At the end, I said to Mr. Chalkley that I hoped Great Britain and the United States would not have to deal at arm’s length but that I wanted him to come to me as a friend and to talk things over in a friendly way, with both sides laying their cards on the table.

F[rancis] B. S[ayre]
  1. Only the covering memorandum is printed, infra.