The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Portugal (Pell)

No. 65

Sir: With reference to conversations which have been in progress regarding a proposed trade agreement between the United States and Portugal, there is enclosed a copy of a memorandum which was handed to the Portuguese Minister in the United States on December 20, 1938, together with copies of memoranda of conversations with the Minister on that date.2 There is also enclosed, for your strictly confidential information and for staff use only, a copy of a memorandum of December 3, 19383 which was prepared for the use of the interdepartmental trade-agreements organization.

You are requested to submit your comments regarding the proposed agreement, with particular reference to any requests for more favorable treatment of Portuguese imports from the United States which, in your opinion, should be made because of special circumstances of which the Department may be unaware. In preparing your comments it is suggested that you collaborate with the Consul General in order that the Department may have the benefit of the experience and judgment of all of its officers in Lisbon. You should also report any comments which Portuguese officials may make to you regarding the proposed agreement.

It is assumed that you are familiar with the public notice of intention to negotiate a trade agreement which is required by law to be given in the United States before definitive negotiations may be undertaken with any country. As the purpose of the required public notice is to provide an opportunity for interested persons to present information and views, the conversations which take place before this notice is given are necessarily tentative. Such conversations are engaged in solely for the purpose of reaching an understanding regarding [Page 708] the basis for definitive negotiations. In order to avoid any difficulty in reaching such an understanding with the Portuguese Government, it is important that no information regarding the proposed agreement be released to the public in either the United States or Portugal before the required public notice of intention to negotiate a trade agreement with that country has been given in the United States. In the event that you discuss the proposed agreement with the Portuguese authorities, you should stress this point.

Very truly yours,

For the Acting Secretary of State:
Francis B. Sayre
  1. Ibid., pp. 666 and 670; other memorandum of conversation dated December 20 not printed.
  2. Not found in Department files.