841.4061 Motion Pictures/113: Telegram

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

108. Your 201, March 11, 1 p.m. and various mail despatches. From Hawkins24 and Hickerson.25 At one of our first meetings with Overton we discussed with him at considerable length the situation created by the proposed film legislation in the United Kingdom. Our comments followed the general line taken in our telegrams on this subject to the Embassy. We stressed the fact that while we realized that the present film legislation will expire at the end of March, the passage of new legislation placing such obstacles as appear to be contemplated against our most important non-agricultural export at this time is nothing short of deplorable. We went on to say that probably after he left London our Embassy sent a note to the British Government26 setting forth in detail our position on this whole matter, and that we earnestly hoped that amendments would be introduced which would meet substantially our requests. We added that otherwise our attitude toward concessions to the United Kingdom would necessarily be affected.

Overton’s comments were approximately those which we have heard in the past from the Board of Trade. He said that he knew nothing of our note but he felt sure that the British Government would go as far as it possibly could to meet our point of view. He stressed the enormous difficulties and diversity of interests in connection with the whole question.

Since that conversation, we have made references to the film matter on various occasions in our discussions of other products. We intend to press this question strongly here but we desire to correlate our activities with those of the Embassy. We shall, of course, bear in mind the suggestions which were made to us orally here. We should appreciate it if you would telegraph us a brief estimate of the extent to which the British have, by amendments, met, or intend to meet, [Page 22]our point of view as set forth in the 14 points. We should also be grateful for any recommendations which you give us as to the line of action which we should take at this end. In general, if it is agreeable to you, we should like to reverse the usual procedure and have you instruct us. [Hawkins and Hickerson.]

  1. Harry C. Hawkins, Chief of the Division of Trade Agreements.
  2. John D. Hickerson, Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs.
  3. See telegram No. 69, February 15, 8 p.m., to the Chargé in the United Kingdom, p. 18.