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

No. 620

Sir: With reference to your despatch no. 2254 of March 10, 1939 and the enclosed Foreign Office note no. W3744/79/50 of March 9, 1939 regarding the nomination of representatives of United States rubber consumers on the Advisory Panel of the International Rubber Regulation Committee, you are instructed, if you see no objection, to present a reply along the following lines:

This Government concurs in the expressed intention of continuing the present representation of United States rubber consumers on the Advisory Panel of the International Rubber Regulation Committee by a member nominated by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, Incorporated. This Government has noted, with satisfaction, the value which the Committee places upon the assistance rendered by this representative in the past. It has noted also the Committee’s appreciation of the contacts which have been established with consumers of rubber in the United States through this plan of representation and joins with the Committee in the hope that these contacts may be continued.
This Government appreciates the opportunity of commenting upon the procedure for the appointment of a second representative of rubber consumers in the United States now under consideration by the Committee, namely, an invitation to the Rubber Manufacturers Association to nominate this second representative as well as the first. In this connection it will be recalled that in the exchange of views with the British Government regarding arrangements to be made in the amended agreement for the representation of consumers, this Government suggested that the provision for membership on the Advisory Panel should be flexible so as to make it possible, during the operation of the scheme, to select a second American member who would be more directly representative of the ultimate consumers. At that time this Government expressed the view that the existing representation of American consumers had been well handled by the nominee of the Manufacturers Association, and it is of the opinion at the present time that the value of this representation has steadily increased in the intervening period. It is the view of this Government therefore that it is neither necessary to increase the representation of American rubber manufacturers nor desirable at this time to provide for alternative or supplementary representation. It would suit the judgment of this Government best if the Committee should take no action at the present time to appoint a second member to the Advisory Panel representing American consuming interests.

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The following background is for your own information: Viles is quite anxious that the Rubber Manufacturers Association should be invited now to nominate the second American representative and he may have expressed this feeling to members of the Committee. The Department feels it advisable to retain a free hand in this matter indefinitely, but it does not wish in any way to embarrass or impede Viles and the Manufacturers Association in their relations with the Committee. It is desirable therefore to present our position in such a way that it shall not be interpreted as evidence of any lack of confidence in the present representation. The decision not to recommend the appointment of a second member, representing somewhat different consumer interests, at this time should indicate that we have no lack of confidence in Viles.

We have discussed this question with Viles and fully expressed our ideas and the Department’s complete willingness to undertake to confer regarding the matter with him and the Rubber Manufacturers Association before suggesting supplementary or alternative representation at any future time.

A number of considerations have influenced the Department in adopting the line of policy set forth above. Any action to place the entire representation of American interests, vis-à-vis the Rubber Committee, in the hands of the rubber manufacturers would be likely to arouse criticism in the United States. It is important that this Government and also the Rubber Manufacturers Association be protected against any charge that the manufacturers have been placed in a position to cooperate in maintaining international monopoly control of the production and distribution of crude rubber. As a matter of fact, the line of action set forth above retaining indefinitely the possibility of appointing a representative of other consuming interests, should strengthen the bargaining power of the manufacturers’ representative on the Advisory Panel; the argument would always be available that the manufacturers’ position would be more reasonable from the standpoint of the Committee than would be the case if another American representative should be appointed. The effectiveness of the representation of American interests by the nominee of the manufacturers’ association has increased so steadily that this Government would not wish at this time to encourage any move to change or complicate the character of that representation. In any event, if the desirability of appointing a second American representative were pressed at this time, it would be the judgment of this Government that a person should be chosen representing consuming interests in a much broader sense than is true in the case of the manufacturers’ representative.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Francis B. Sayre