611.60F31/530a: Telegram

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

49. Our list of requests for concessions by Czechoslovakia in the proposed trade agreement was presented to the Czechoslovak delegation last Thursday.21 We have asked for suppression of import permit requirements and quantitative limitations on the items appearing on our list. Many of these are already free from such restriction or limitation. In spite of the fact that the memorandum which accompanied cur preliminary request list of last August22 stated that requests for suppression of quantitative restrictions on certain products would be made the Czechoslovak delegation has expressed complete surprise at our requests as now presented and states that it is not authorized to negotiate on that basis. We have asked that the delegation put the matter before the Czechoslovak government for consideration and decision.

The Czechoslovak delegation has taken the position that because of the restrictive systems maintained by other European countries Czechoslovakia [Page 252] cannot change her protective system to the extent of completely abolishing quantitative restrictions. We have pointed out the broad underlying principles of our program which looks to the breaking down or removal of excessive barriers and that we feel fully justified in expecting Czechoslovakia to take a partial step in this direction at this time. We have stressed the fact that we are not asking Czechoslovakia to abandon her whole system of quantitative restrictions. Our requests cover a very limited part of Czechoslovakia’s total import trade and involve commodities of direct interest to the United States. Out of the thousands of products covered by the Czechoslovak tariff we are requesting the abolition of quantitative restrictions on only 25 or 30 items and since these are products of primary interest to the United States, Czechoslovakia’s trade in these products with third countries would in many cases be affected only in a relatively minor degree.

We are not asking Czechoslovakia to take this step gratuitously. We have offered and are prepared to grant to Czechoslovakia substantial concessions on 49 items. What we will ultimately give is necessarily contingent on the nature and extent of Czechoslovakia’s concessions to us.

Please discuss this matter with the appropriate Czechoslovak authorities in the above sense, stressing the fact that our requests for the suppression of quantitative restrictions refers to a very limited number of products and hence in no sense implies any revolutionary changes in this respect in Czechoslovakia’s trade control system as a whole.

  1. December 9.
  2. Not found in Department files.