Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. John C. Ross of the Division of Trade Agreements

Mr. Sayre called Dr. Bianchi in at 11 o’clock this morning for the purpose of handing him a memorandum12 setting forth the views of this Government regarding the basis for trade-agreement negotiations between the United States and Portugal.

Mr. Sayre said that this subject had been carefully considered by the trade-agreements organization and that he was very glad to be able to say that, in the view of the American Government, a basis for a trade agreement exists. Mr. Sayre then referred to the memorandum which had been prepared for Dr. Bianchi and outlined the customary trade-agreements procedure. Mr. Sayre then suggested to the Minister that, after he had had an opportunity to read the memorandum, he get in touch with Mr. Hawkins13 for the purpose of clarifying the various factors bearing upon the basis for negotiations. In this way, definitive negotiations would be expedited after [Page 671]publication in the United States of the required notice of intention to negotiate.

Mr. Sayre said that careful consideration had been given to the request made by the Minister on behalf of his Government that an officer of the Department be sent to Lisbon in connection with the proposed negotiations. However, it did not seem possible to spare anyone from the Department for this purpose.

The Minister expressed disappointment. He went on to say that, in making this request, his Government had no desire to transfer any part of the trade-agreement negotiations to Lisbon. Although it would be desirable to have someone from the Department discuss the trade agreement with Portuguese officials, particularly as Portugal does not have a Commercial Attaché in the United States, the Minister thought that his Government probably attaches more importance to the idea of an officer of the Department going to Portugal for the purpose of discussing in a general way the relations between the two countries. The Minister said that the American point of view is not well enough understood in his country. He asked that the matter be reconsidered and Mr. Sayre replied that he would be glad to do so.

After leaving Mr. Sayre’s office, the Minister and Mr. Boss continued the conversation briefly. Dr. Bianchi read the memorandum which Mr. Sayre had handed to him and said that he did not foresee any difficulties in regard to any of the points discussed in the memorandum. The Minister asked if the Department might be prepared to communicate to him at a reasonably early date a list of products in which the United States would have an interest and a tentative draft of general provisions for the proposed agreement. It was agreed that this would be done and that meanwhile the Minister would forward the Department’s memorandum to his Government.

  1. Supra.
  2. Harry C. Hawkins, Chief of the Division of Trade Agreements.