840.50/804: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

6239. A meeting has been arranged for November 12th46 between representatives of the Board of Trade, the Foreign Office and other appropriate British authorities and representatives of the Allied Governments established in London for the purpose of discussing commercial policy and economic questions as far as they relate to external trade. The talks will be informal and exploratory. Their object is to ascertain in a preliminary way the views of the Allied Governments [Page 229] as to the general shape and organization of economic and commercial matters in the post-war world. Representatives of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, the Fighting French, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Yugoslavia have been invited and the Dominions Governments are being given the opportunity to be represented. In view of the informal character of the meeting it has been requested that no publicity should be given to it.

In inviting representatives of the Allied Governments established in London to this meeting the British have made it clear that it would be premature for the United Kingdom Government to make any positive proposals or suggestions at this stage.

Harcourt Johnstone, Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade, and Ronald of the Foreign Office have asked whether we would like to be represented by an observer, or otherwise, at this informal meeting. In informal conversations they stated that in calling the proposed meeting they had been influenced in part by the fear that if the representatives of Allied Governments in London were left to discuss commercial policy solely among themselves, there might be an increasing tendency among them to favor bilateral arrangements, and in part by the success of the informal meetings with Allied Finance Ministers on post-war currency and related economic problems in Occupied Europe (Embassy 3708 [4258], July 30, 9 p.m., Department’s 3709, August 6, midnight, and Embassy’s airmail despatches 5228 of August 27, 5894 of October 13, and 6064 of October 2447).

Will you please let us know before November 12th whether you wish the Embassy to be represented by an observer or otherwise at this meeting.

  1. Postponed to November 20.
  2. Despatches not printed.