611.60F31/191: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Czechoslovakia ( Wright )

9. Your 17, April 1, 4 p.m., and 19, April 8, 11 a.m. Most of the general provisions which we shall propose for negotiation are identical with those found in trade agreements already concluded, copies of which the Czechoslovak Government doubtless has. A few standard articles such as that relating to exchange have recently been revised. Sets of standard provisions will be forwarded to you at an early date and furnished at the appropriate time to the Czechoslovak Legation here.

On April 9 we informed the Czechoslovak Chargé d’Affaires that it is not desirable at this stage to attempt to work out in detail the language of the general provisions but only to arrive at an understanding of the general principles which will govern the negotiations. [Page 243] We stated that the Czechoslovak Government must be aware of the general provisions which have been included in our other trade agreements and that similar provisions would have to be included in a trade agreement with Czechoslovakia.

In regard to the Danubian preference question we stated that all that seemed to us to be necessary prior to making public announcement was acceptance by Czechoslovakia of the broad principles laid down in our aide-mémoire of November 27, 1935, the chief of which was that preferences accorded to Danubian countries should be specified and limited. The amount of preferences to be accorded would be a subject of negotiation. We stated that a reply merely accepting the above-mentioned principles as a basis for discussion would be adequate from our standpoint.

We explained that the reasons for not attempting to work out the provisions of the agreement in any detail prior to announcement of negotiations are (1) the desirability of launching these negotiations before our program of negotiations with other countries becomes too crowded and (2) the undesirability from a domestic standpoint of proceeding too far with the negotiations in advance of public announcement. We also pointed out that the modus vivendi is only temporary and if we allow matters to drift too long without placing our relations on a more satisfactory basis we are likely to encounter increasing criticism in this country.

Please convey the sense of the above to the Czechoslovak authorities and attempt to elicit from them a satisfactory answer to our aides-mémoire of November 27, 1935 and March 27, 1937.