Memorandum by the Secretary of State
The German Ambassador22 called, presumably to pay his respects only. I inquired about conditions in Germany and the Ambassador [Page 329] replied that they were much better economically and proceeded to emphasize and elaborate on the improved conditions in his country. I then said that I assumed from his remarks that the German Government would not be concerned about getting behind our broad program for world economic rehabilitation, with which the Ambassador was very familiar, but would pursue its own course economically and maybe otherwise. He rather promptly thought to contradict this remark and to assure me that the German Government was very desirous of seeing our program carried forward to a successful conclusion everywhere. He then brought up and reviewed the German proposal of last spring for a trade agreement with the United States and urged that this matter be revived. I replied that, of course, we were interested in bilateral trading agreements with his and other countries alike, but that our big objective and our big fight thus far had been to preserve the rule of equality as the basis for the program for satisfactory and permanent world economic rehabilitation; that the preservation of the integrity of this rule is deemed far more important than mere bilateral agreements alone; and that it is my hope that we can gradually secure enough support from other nations to enable an increasing number of countries to go forward with this program of bilateral trade agreements combined with the principle of equality of treatment or the favored-nation doctrine; that this would include Germany if and when the conditions and essentials could be worked out and agreed upon; and I promised him that I would, during coming weeks, look over the record of the German trade proposal of last spring with a view to seeing whether and what additional steps at an early date might be feasible from our viewpoint.
- Hans Luther.↩