Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. H. Gerald Smith of the Division of Trade Agreements

Participants: Señor Guillermo Gazitua, Counselor of the Chilean Embassy
Mr. Hawkins;
Mr. Briggs;21
Mr. Woodward;22
Mr. Smith

Señor Gazitua called by appointment to discuss the question of announcing negotiations for a trade agreement between the United States and Chile. He was informed that subject to final approval by the Secretary, which it was anticipated would be received shortly, we were now prepared to issue the announcement at any time.

Señor Gazitua referred to the fact that he had received instructions from his Government on two points: that agreement should not be given by him to the announcement of trade-agreement negotiations until this Government had given assurances that the Compañía Sudamericana de Vapores would be admitted to the West Coast steamship conference; and that lemons would be included in the list of products to be considered by the United States in connection with the agreement. On the latter point Señor Gazitua indicated that he had received later instructions that his Government would not insist upon including lemons in the published list, but that his original instructions had not been changed on the first point.

It was pointed out to Señor Gazitua with respect to the shipping matter, that this was a question entirely distinct from that of the trade agreement and as far as this Government was concerned the issuance of the trade-agreement announcement could not be made contingent upon a solution of the shipping problem. It was indicated also that the Chilean steamship line had only made application to the conference under its current proposal on September 15; that the conference had agreed to hold hearings on or about October 3, which was relatively prompt action; that the Maritime Commission could not enter the picture until the conference had acted on the Chilean application; and that the Department would continue as it had in the past to suggest to the Maritime Commission the desirability of prompt and thorough consideration of the Chilean case. In the meantime, it was not believed that the Department could take any further action. It was further indicated [Page 415] to Señor Gazitua that the Maritime Commission was an independent Government agency operating under its own legislation and it would not be appropriate for the Department to attempt to exert any pressure on the Commission.

Señor Gazitua stated that in view of the foregoing he did not see that there was anything further that he could do for the moment regarding the trade-agreement announcement as he did not wish to take the responsibility, in view of the instructions from his Government, of agreeing to the announcement without assurances on the shipping matter. He indicated that he might possibly receive further instructions from Santiago, and in the meantime he would attempt to secure advance assurances of favorable action by the conference on the shipping matter from one of the officials of that group. If such assurances could not be secured, the trade-agreement announcement would have to be delayed at least until after the hearing by the shipping conference the early part of next week.

Señor Gazitua was told that he would be informed of the Secretary’s decision on the trade-agreement announcement as soon as that had been received.

  1. Ellis O. Briggs, Assistant Chief of the Division of the American Republics.
  2. Robert F. Woodward, of the Division of the American Republics.