611.60F31/575a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Czechoslovakia (Carr)

9. We have had under consideration for some time the last Czech offers to our requests for concessions. We have given full consideration to the explanations which were given by the Czechoslovak delegation [Page 228]and to the problems confronting the Czechoslovak Government in its efforts to meet our requests. As a result of our study and of a sincere effort to find the basis for an agreement we have gone to considerable length in making substantial recessions from our original requests. We have cut down our requests to rock bottom, and unless the Czechoslovak Government can meet the present American requests we are faced with the problem of determining whether any agreement would be worthwhile.

The American delegation went over with the Czech delegation January 27th our final request list. While every effort was made to avoid our present position being taken as an ultimatum it was nevertheless made clear to the delegation that unless our present demands are met there would be serious question whether this Government could sign an agreement in the face of the political difficulties which will confront the Administration once it becomes known what concessions we are in fact prepared to accord to Czechoslovakia.

It was made clear to the Czech delegation that we are not interested in a narrowly limited agreement. In other words, we are not interested in withdrawing items from our Schedule II in order that some sort of a balance might be reached as between Schedules I and II. Unless there can be comprehensive liberalization of trade on both sides we question whether any useful purpose could be served by reaching an agreement at this time.

Should the Czechoslovak authorities discuss with you on their initiative the present situation in connection with the trade agreement negotiations, I think it would be well for you to impress upon them that we have made every effort to reach an agreement, but that we have now reduced our requests as far as we can. We considered our original requests for concessions as fully justified. We now consider that the requests we are making are if anything very moderate. We do not see how it will be possible for us to recede any further from our original requests. Above all, it is important for the Czechs to realise that the stage of bargaining and manoeuvering has passed, that this is not the usual “crisis” in a negotiation, but that we have reached a point where they must make a final decision one way or the other.