611.4131/300: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Bingham) to the Secretary of State

344. Today’s Daily Telegraph contains an article by its well informed diplomatic correspondent which reads in part as follows:

“Following premature disclosure in some Dominions of the lines along which attempts are being made to find a basis for a trade agreement between Britain and America considerable uneasiness developed yesterday…53 Disclosure of details through some of the Dominion press has resulted in some political embarrassment to those conducting these purely exploratory talks in London. It will also occasion difficulties in Washington since the stage of “negotiations” which has a special significance under the United States Constitution has not been reached.

Conference talks in London have left no doubt in Dominion minds that an Anglo-American agreement on trade and other matters is a vital first step in the general plans for world settlement as seen by the United Kingdom Government.

But when it comes to discussion of the actual sacrifices required of individual Dominions and the United Kingdom delicate home political questions are raised. It was not concealed yesterday that formidable difficulties are being encountered.

[Page 39]

Before any final agreement with America can be reached it will also be necessary for Britain to prepare for some variations in her existing trade agreements with foreign countries. It is pointed out that all this will take time and early results must not be anticipated.”

This article with its suggestion of delay might be noted in connection with the Times editorial quoted in my 342 of June 3, 9 p.m.,54 particularly the last two sentences thereof.

Incidentally I had a short conversation last evening with a member of the new government who, although confining his remarks to general terms, left me with the same impression as that contained in the articles referred to above.

It may not be amiss to add here that certain newspaper correspondents have obtained from their sources of information suggestions that because of the immediate difficulties of the new government as well as the complicated character of present negotiations the emphasis here is being shifted to stress the importance of a future omnibus settlement which besides trade would also deal with such matters as shipping, war debts et cetera, and for the present merely a limited Anglo-American trade agreement should suffice to keep the door open.

  1. Omission indicated in the original.
  2. Not printed; it quotes an editorial entitled “An Opportunity” from the London Times of June 3, 1937 (611.4131/299).