The Secretary of State to the President of the Third Pan American Coffee Conference ( Mejía )

My Dear Mr. Mejía: I have received, by reference from the Honorable Sumner Welles, Chairman of the Inter-American Financial and Economic Advisory Committee, your letter to him of June 21, 1940 inquiring whether the United States Government would be in a position to cooperate with the Third Pan American Coffee Conference in the regularization of imports of coffee into the United States market, avoiding increase in imports of non-American coffees.

Your inquiry has been the subject of consultation between representatives of the various interested Departments and agencies of the United States Government, and in accordance with their conclusions I am pleased to inform you that the Government of the United States understands the reasons for the request that you have made and is sympathetic with that request, and that this Government would be [Page 382] willing to cooperate with the Third Pan American Coffee Conference in taking the necessary steps, which may involve recommendation of action to the Congress of the United States, to implement a plan of control over the production and marketing of coffee.

It will be understood, of course, that this willingness to cooperate is dependent upon the ability of the United States Government to approve the nature and the details of the coffee control program which would be devised. In this connection, this Government would desire to be officially represented in the negotiations of any control program for coffee, and also to be represented on any body which would be established to administer the plan so set up. I should also point out that the United States Government has always taken the position, in connection with the negotiation or discussion of international commodity agreements, that an essential provision of any such agreement is a recognition of the need for protection of the legitimate interests of consumers as well as of producers, and it would expect that any coffee agreement would contain such a provision.

As you will be aware, the United States Government is currently giving consideration to questions of a broad program for economic cooperation in the western hemisphere.2 I should hope that as this program develops and crystalizes it would be found that any arrangement with respect to coffee which might be adopted as a result of the Third Pan American Coffee Conference would be of such a nature that it could be coordinated with the larger program which the countries of this hemisphere may be able to work out.

Sincerely yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. See pp. 353 ff.