561.311F1 Advisory Committee/1074: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Matthews) to the Secretary of State

1061. Embassy’s 990, March 2, 8 p.m. Delay in the transmission of instructions to the British Wheat Delegation has been due to reference of some points of detail to Department’s detailed instructions [but?] will probably be sent today or tomorrow to the British Delegation.

The following points are based on further informal discussions with the Foreign Office and with economists in the Leith-Ross6 group and the Board of Trade.

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(1) The British would prefer that the agreement should be initialled by the delegates in the capacity of experts reflecting in general the positions of their Governments, and that the Governments should then state their acceptance of the agreement.

This point originates in the legal and treaty experts of the Foreign Office. There is no reason to think that an issue will be made of it and if you have a preference for another procedure there should be no serious difficulty in obtaining agreement.

(2) The Foreign Office is raising a question about publication. It assumes that the memorandum of agreement and the draft convention will have to be published in any case and think that this will necessitate the publication also of the “final minutes”. It seems to prefer no publicity until the negotiations are concluded.

(3) The British would prefer in the present agreement to leave aside paragraphs 10, 11 and 12 of article 7 of the Draft Convention and put somewhere into the Agreement a statement providing for the one country one vote principle. They think that conditions under which the more complicated voting provisions would come into operation will not arise until a considerable number of additional countries are ready to come in, and when that time comes the future wheat conference should be held without delay.

In these circumstances they do not think it worth while to run the risk of raising questions in unrepresented countries by including such provisions as those in article 7, paragraph 11.

(4) The Board of Trade expressed the view that it could not during the war undertake direct commitments to police import quotas.

They wish to leave paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 of article 14 outside the scope of the present agreement. It is regarded as certain that in the period in which the present agreement will operate all purchases will be bulk government contract purchases and there will be no question of imports that are unauthorized or contrary to the agreement. The objection to bringing in paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 of article 14 is that it would be regarded by import trading interests as containing implications on the question whether import trading under private enterprise will be resumed or government trading continued permanently after the war. The Board of Trade and the Ministry of Food are both anxious to avoid raising this question now and to keep free of commitments.

As a substitute for these paragraphs the British would be ready to agree that if the action of any country appeared to threaten the stability of the Interim Agreement, Britain would enter into discussion with the other countries with a view to devising measures that would safeguard the agreement.

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There seems to be no important obstacle here to the speedy conclusion of the agreement. Point 4 discussed above is the most important point and if you are able to meet the British on that matter it will be greatly appreciated in Government circles here for internal political reasons.

  1. Sir Frederick Leith-Ross, Director General, British Ministry of Economic Warfare.