561.311F1 Advisory Committee/1072: Telegram
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 23—6:12 p.m.]
856. Further information obtained from the Foreign Office indicates acceptance of the position taken by Treasury economists described in my 797 of February 19, midnight. This provides that the last important contract price before resumption of substantial trade with the European Continent shall be continued until another agreement is reached, though not for more than 2 years. It also accepts provisions relating to the relief pool and to the control of production, stocks and exports. The Foreign Office economist, however, stated that he had not yet received a formal statement from Washington specifying the exact articles in attached draft convention which are to be included in the present agreement except that relating to the relief pool. There seems to be only one remaining point to be settled, and this has to do with the form and not the substance of the agreement.[Page 506]
The legal experts of the Foreign Office have objected to the present form of drafting on the ground that the memorandum of agreement is not self-contained but refers to the attached draft convention for the details of some of its most important provisions. These details would be imbedded in another long and elaborate document, large parts of which are matters for future discussion rather than matters of present agreement. The Foreign Office considers that from a political point of view the present form of drafting had important disadvantages and would complicate the task of defending the agreement in Parliament against hostile critics.
The legal experts favor drafting the agreement in the form of an interim wheat agreement the rest of which would be self-contained. Those articles in the draft convention which would be a part of the interim agreement would be given in full in the text of the interim agreement. The text would then be self-explanatory and complete and this would strengthen Ministers replying to hostile critics.
The draft convention would then be attached as constituting a basis for the discussions of the next wheat conference but it would not be necessary to refer to it in relation to the actual interim agreement.
The legal experts would also prefer that the principle of one country one vote should be adopted in the interim agreement in respect of the five signatory countries and any others that might come in before the next wheat meeting. They think the more complicated voting arrangements set out in the attached draft convention will be suitable for the more comprehensive future wheat agreement when a large number of countries are included but that they would only add unnecessary complications in the interim period.
The Foreign Office has hesitated to raise these questions because they are anxious not to be interpreted in Washington as stalling or hindering an agreement. I am convinced that there is no intention on their part of holding up agreement and that they are genuinely desirous of meeting us on the substance of our proposals. Would you let me know as soon as possible whether these modifications in the form of drafting are acceptable?.