The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 9—1:45 p.m.]
596. To the President and the Secretary. This weekend I stayed with the Prime Minister. We discussed Lend-Lease as it related to article 7 and Empire preference. He told me that more than three-fourths of the Cabinet were opposed to making Empire preference a part of the Lend-Lease settlement. He said they were willing to agree to forego preference and discriminations in dealing with outside countries in the agreement but that they felt they should not barter away Empire sovereignty on a payment basis to meet a debt obligation.[Page 535]
On the other hand he told me that he himself and others who took this same position had no confidence in the utility of Empire preference and that separately from the Lend-Lease settlement his Government would be glad to begin discussions with us on preferences, discriminations, tariffs and other economic policy relating to internal and external post-war problems. He told me that he and others were very anxious that we should get on common ground and reach common understanding.
Either in connection with this problem or aside from it a visit here within the next 2 months by Acheson, Hawkins,23 Viner,24 White,25 Ezekiel,26 and Lubin27 (who could also contact his opposite number here) in order to discuss informally with the men who are formulating and will shortly complete their post-war memoranda, would help immeasurably in coordinating post-war thinking and influence ultimate action. I know such a group would be welcome and conferences could be entirely informal and exploratory.
- Harry Hawkins, Chief of the Division of Commercial Policy and Agreements.↩
- Jacob Viner, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury.↩
- Harry Dexter White, Director of Monetary Research, Treasury Department.↩
- Mordecai Ezekiel, Economic Adviser, Office of the Secretary of Agriculture.↩
- Isador Lubin, Commissioner of Labor Statistics.↩