Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Theodore C. Achilles of the Division of European Affairs

Participants: The Portuguese Minister.2
Mr. Culbertson.3
Mr. Achilles.

Mr. Culbertson had requested the Minister to call with a view to ascertaining the reaction of the Portuguese Government to the modus vivendi which had been suggested by the Department under date of April 11, 19364 and any developments of which the Minister might have learned during his visit to Lisbon last fall.

Mr. Culbertson pointed out that the question of Portuguese flag discrimination had again been raised by American shipping concerns and that the Maritime Commission was now taking an active interest.

The Minister stated that the Portuguese Government, in each of the agreements whereby it had abolished flag discrimination for vessels of other nations, had received as a quid pro quo complete protection of the designations “Port” and “Madeira”, i. e., prohibition of the use of those words on labels for any wine grown elsewhere than in Portugal, whereas we were only in a position to enact regulations requiring that wine of Port or Madeira type grown elsewhere than in Portugal should be conspicuously lettered to show its origin. He stated that he understood that this was as far as this Government was able to go and that he had urged his Foreign Office to go ahead with that agreement on that basis. His suggestion had not been particularly sympathetically received, particularly by the Minister of Commerce. He stated further that he felt the Foreign Office had been so busy with other matters that it had given little consideration to the American [Page 660]proposal, the implication being that his Government was not particularly interested.

He believed that his Government would be more interested were a duty reduction of 50 percent to be granted upon Port and Madeira wines. Mr. Culbertson pointed out that any such reduction would have to be made in a regular trade agreement negotiated in accordance with the Trade Agreements Act.5 The Minister felt that, if it were desired to negotiate such an agreement, more rapid progress could be made if the negotiations were carried on at Lisbon. Mr. Culbertson replied that if such a course would facilitate agreement, the Department would be glad to consider sending negotiators there.

The Minister agreed to sound out his Government on this matter.

  1. João Antonio de Bianchi.
  2. Paul T. Culbertson, Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. ii, p. 421.
  4. Act of June 12, 1934, 48 Stat. 943; extended March 1, 1937, 50 Stat. 24.