611.6731/211: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Turkey (Washington)

66. In the light of your discussions with the Turkish authorities and of our studies in progress, we consider a basis exists for trade agreement negotiations. This was determined prior to the receipt of your 39, August 9, 5 p.m.

You should advise the Turkish authorities of this decision, but in so doing obtain confirmation of their position regarding the basis for such negotiations and acquaint them with our procedure. Care should be taken to avoid conveying the impression that the informal lists transmitted in your telegram under reference may serve as an approved basis of negotiations. There has been no opportunity to consider some of the items contained therein.

In advising the Turkish authorities, you should emphasize that the basis for negotiations includes the unconditional most-favored-nation principle in respect of all forms of trade control (an indication of the application of the principle may be found in the general provisions of trade agreements between the United States and other countries, e. g., Switzerland) and also a Turkish understanding that this Government is not in general in a position to grant concessions to Turkey on products of which Turkey is not the principal or an important supplier to the United States.

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As indicated in the Department’s telegram No. 49 of July 1, our procedure includes a preliminary public announcement by this Government that the negotiation of a trade agreement with the other country is contemplated. The purpose of this announcement is to afford American interests opportunity to present views as to the products to be covered. Such announcement includes the statement that at a later date formal public notice of intention to negotiate will be given. Accompanying the formal notice there is published a list of articles under consideration for concessions to the other country. In order to be in a position to publish such a list in connection with Turkey, it is necessary for us to have a list of products on which the Turkish Government contemplates requesting concessions from the United States. The formal notice constitutes an invitation to our domestic interests to submit briefs with respect to articles included in the published list and sets a date for public hearings here. This Government does not make public announcement, prior to conclusion of an agreement, of products on which we seek concessions from the other country.

In view of our policy and the requirements of our procedure with regard to the publication of a list of articles under consideration for concessions to Turkey to accompany the formal notice of intention to negotiate, the Turkish authorities may wish to reconsider their request list contained in your telegram under reference, particularly bearing in mind the rule of principal or important supplier. The greatest care should be used in the preparation of this list since it will be difficult to consider products not contained in the published list. There is no necessity for the Turkish Government to indicate at this stage the exact nature of the concessions to be requested. There need be included only the description and tariff number of the product, conforming as closely as possible to the United States tariff nomenclature with respect to such product. It is necessary for us to have such a list from the Turkish authorities as soon as possible after the issuance of the preliminary announcement, but in any case not later than 4 weeks after the date of that announcement.

For your confidential information: if the question of a reduction in the duty on cigarette leaf tobacco is referred to, you should state that although it will probably not be possible for this Government to grant such a reduction, consideration could be given to binding the present duty. A duty reduction on tobacco would very likely be of little if any benefit to Turkey and would probably result in a substantial reduction of our customs revenue. See page 17 of the Commercial Attaché’s memorandum of June 24, 1937, enclosed with your despatch No. 292 of June 30.6

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As to the list of articles contained in your telegram under reference, on which the Turkish Government will consider granting tariff reductions, you may state that the indications of the Turkish Government’s intentions are welcome and point out that when our studies have progressed further, we shall be prepared to submit to the Turkish Government a list of articles which we desire to have considered in the negotiations for concessions by Turkey.

We are disposed to proceed, after confirmation by the Turkish Government of the basis for negotiations, with the preliminary public announcement that negotiation of a trade agreement with Turkey is contemplated. Please say that we prefer that Turkish authorities refrain from giving any previous publicity to the matter.

The Turkish Embassy here has been informed of the general nature of the discussions as to the basis for negotiating a trade agreement and our procedure in this respect. Tobacco has not been mentioned.

Copies of the standard general provisions7 for inclusion in trade agreements and of the Country Committee report on Turkey8 are being sent you, as well as copies of the preliminary and later announcements made in connection with the negotiations with Ecuador9 as examples of the announcements we should expect to make in the case of Turkey.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed. These were a revision of the standard general provisions printed in Foreign Relations, 1935, vol. i, p. 541.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Department of State, Press Releases, January 9, 1937, p. 16, and April 10, 1937, p. 208.