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

[Participants:] Mr. Witold Wankowicz, Counselor of Polish Embassy;
Mr. Sylvester Gruszka, Consul General of Poland;
Mr. Harry C. Hawkins.

In accordance with the arrangement made at the meeting in Mr. Sayre’s office on February 3, Mr. Wankowicz and Mr. Gruszka called [Page 528] to discuss further the basis for trade agreement negotiations. The discussion related to the nature of our General Provisions and the extent to which the Polish Government might be in a position to agree to them. Both Mr. Wankowicz and Mr. Gruszka felt that it might be possible to accept our General Provisions in substance. I suggested to them that the best way of explaining our position on the principles which should govern the negotiations would be to send copies of our trade agreements with other countries to their Government and supplement them with the explanations which we had given to them in the course of our discussions. I reminded them that we are not in a position to set in motion the machinery for preparing material on the schedules until the Trade Agreements Committee has authorized negotiations and has set up the interdepartmental country committee to do the necessary work; but that if the Polish Government should find itself in a position to negotiate on the basis of the principles embodied in our General Provisions, the Trade Agreements Committee doubtless would give favorable consideration to entering into definitive negotiations. Mr. Wankowicz said that he would take up the matter with his Government in the manner above suggested.

In the course of the discussion, Mr. Wankowicz said that his Government was much concerned with the matter of countervailing duties and that if a trade agreement were negotiated it would like to have us specify either in the agreement or in connection therewith precisely the circumstances and conditions under which our countervailing duties would, and would not, be imposed. I informed him that this was a matter entirely within the competence of the Treasury Department and that that Department would have the final decision regarding any stipulations of the kind suggested. I said that, in my opinion, the Treasury Department would not agree to describing the general nature of measures which would and which would not be made the occasion for applying countervailing duties, but that it might consider specifying whether specific measures applied by Poland would necessitate the application of such duties. However, this was a matter for the Treasury Department to decide and that Department would be consulted at the appropriate time.

Mr. Wankowicz also said that Poland is interested in obtaining assurances that agricultural products should be either free of duty or that existing duties should not be raised. In this connection, I referred him to the provisions of the Trade Agreements Act6 which impose a 50 percent limit on duty reductions by the United States.

  1. Approved June 12, 1934; 48 Stat. 943.