Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Commercial Treaties and Agreements (Hawkins) to the Secretary of State

We have had under consideration the renewal of trade-agreement negotiations with Chile. Recommendations have been made by the trade-agreements organization, and these have been approved by both Assistant Secretary Acheson and the Under Secretary. It is now desired to place the matter before you.

You will recall that following announcement of intention to negotiate with Chile, in October 1939,90 a decision was reached in December of that year to remove copper from the scope of the negotiations,91 which have since been inactive. The new proposals which we desire to present to the Chilean Government would involve the reinclusion of copper in the negotiations. It is felt that this could best be handled through the issuance of an entirely new notice of intention to negotiate with Chile, thus avoiding any possibility of charges of bad faith by domestic copper interests in view of the withdrawal of copper from the scope of the earlier negotiations. It is our feeling that the present is an excellent time to offer a concession on copper to the Chilean Government: the copper situation has entirely changed since 1939; domestic production, as you know, is entirely inadequate for both defense and civilian purposes; anything we can do to help stimulate [Page 597] production in Latin America will be of benefit in the defense program; in short, an opportunity is now presented to reduce the tax on copper with the greatest economic benefit and the least political danger.

The other products on which we might be able to offer concessions to Chile cover all the items previously considered, and in the case of several of these the trade-agreements organization has recommended some improvements in the earlier offers.

The general provisions of the proposed agreement would follow closely the proposals which have been made to Argentina.

There is attached a draft letter to the President92 for your signature, if you approve, on the question of renewing negotiations with Chile, in case you believe it necessary to bring the question to his attention.93

Harry C. Hawkins
  1. October 2, 1939; for statement by the Secretary of State, see Department of State Bulletin, October 7, 1939, p. 346.
  2. See press release of December 21, ibid., December 23, 1939, p. 733.
  3. Draft not attached to file copy; for letter sent to President Roosevelt, July 18, see p. 598.
  4. This paper carries the notation: “Approved. S[umner] W[elles].”