Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Trade Agreements (Hawkins)

Conversation: Mr. Otakar Kabeláč, Chargé d’Affaires of the Czechoslovak Legation
Mr. Sayre5
Mr. Culbertson6
Mr. Hawkins

Mr. Kabeláč came in by appointment and was given the attached Aide-mémoire 7 proposing the initiation of negotiations for a trade agreement. In discussing the matter with him Mr. Sayre called particular attention to the request on page 3 for an indication from the Czechoslovak Government whether it would be prepared to negotiate on the basis of the general principles relating to Danubian preferences which were outlined in this Government’s Aide-Mémoire of November 27, 1935.7a

Mr. Kabeláč said that he was doubtful as to what his Government’s attitude would be on the Danubian preference question. He said that his Government had been inclined to feel, when the same question was raised some time ago, that it would be necessary to retain its freedom to develop the preferential system further.* Mr. Kabeláč also said that he would like to discuss the question with us further, with a [Page 241] view to getting in mind more precisely the nature of the provisions pertaining to Danubian preferences which we would want to include in the agreement. Mr. Sayre stated that we would be glad to discuss the matter again, and suggested that Mr. Kabeláč get in touch with Mr. Hawkins next week. In the course of the discussion it was made clear to Mr. Kabeláč that is it not our intention to work out the Danubian preference provisions in any detail preliminary to announcing negotiations; that this would be left for the negotiations themselves. The only thing we had in mind now was getting the assent of the Czechoslovak Government to basing the negotiations on the general principles laid down in our Aide-Mémoire of November 27, 1935.

  1. Francis B. Sayre, Assistant Secretary of State.
  2. Paul T. Culbertson, Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs.
  3. Supra.
  4. Foreign Relations, 1935, vol. ii, p. 160.
  5. This does not conform to our understanding of the position previously taken by the Czechoslovak Government. [Footnote in the original.]