500.C1199/347: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva (Bucknell) to the Secretary of State

154. The final report of the Economic Committee,10 due to the recent change which has occurred in the tendencies in the United States affecting the general situation, does not contain the extreme pessimism to be found in the Committee’s preliminary documents. While admitting present impossibility of multilateral agreements of a general character and pointing out the new or accentuated economic and political difficulties it states that

“progress is possible through the conclusion of bilateral commercial agreements designed to bring about a progressive relaxation of the principal barriers to trade arising from excessive customs tariffs, quotas and exchange control.

A remarkable example is to be found in the efforts made in this direction in recent years by the United States Government and in the results achieved under the guidance of Mr. Hull.

Progress is also possible through collective inquiries and discussions having as their object the investigation of measures for the improvement of material well-being.

For such action to be successful it is clearly desirable that the largest number of states should collaborate; but the cooperation of all nations is not indispensable in this connection.”

There was little discussion and no further action on raw materials but note was taken of replies so far received from governments. The Polish member expressed the disappointment of his Government that the colonial angle had been ignored. Grady expressed the view of our Government that greater emphasis might have been placed on more effective consumer representation in control schemes.

Four members of the Economic Committee, including Grady, were appointed to the Mixed Committee to coordinate the work of the various activities of the economic and financial organization. Badulesco, Rumania, and Elbel, France, were appointed assessors to the Second Committee of the next Assembly.

The cotton question did not come up in discussion in the Committee but at a private meeting of Stoppani,11 Grady, Leith-Ross and an Egyptian. It developed that preliminary inquiries of the British and Brazilians showed a lack of sympathy and that further exploitation of the attitude of Great Britain and Brazil are necessary before a decision can be reached on the calling of an expert committee.

  1. League of Nations, Official Journal, November 1938, Annex 1730, p. 1088 (C.233.M.132.1938.II.B.).
  2. Pietro Stoppani, Director of the Economic Relations Section, League of Nations Secretariat.