811.24 Raw Materials/243: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Belgium ( Wilson )

50. Your 93, July 29, 2 p.m. We greatly appreciate the fact that Belgium, despite the difficulties it had to overcome to formulate any proposal for an exchange of commodities for reserve stock purposes, has put forward the offer conveyed in your 93. However, after mature consideration, it is judged best not to undertake to proceed with this offer for a variety of reasons, among which the following are important:

The acquisitions for reserve stock purposes would be so comparatively small as to be incommensurate with the elaborate negotiations and administrative arrangements that would be necessary.
It is recognized that the Belgian Government would have difficulty securing a separate additional quota release from the International Tin Committee to procure this supply.

For your information only: We are somewhat influenced by the fact that the amount of American wheat available for export during the current crop year will not be excessive, and that furthermore, inquiries from Argentina lead to the belief that that country would misunderstand the transaction at a time when an effort is being made to reach an international agreement on the marketing of wheat.

Were the Belgian interest shifted to cotton, the matter would present less serious obstacles from our end.

It is suggested that you also call the attention of the Belgian Government to legislation enacted by Congress and now awaiting the signature of the President,34 enabling the Commodity Credit Corporation to sell cotton or wheat or other agricultural surpluses which it [Page 456] holds on loan to foreign governments at a special price on condition that such stocks will be held for a period of not less than five years unless required in the meantime to meet a war or war emergency resulting in serious interruption of normal supplies of such commodities. The price concession which may be made in connection with such sales is limited to a reduction below the prevailing world market price of an amount not to exceed the average carrying charges which would be incurred by the Commodity Credit Corporation were such commodities held here for an additional eighteen months period.

  1. House Joint Resolution No. 375, approved August 11, 1939; 53 Stat. 1418.