Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by Mr. H. Gerald Smith of the Division of Commercial Policy and Agreements
Dr. Bernhardt18 telephoned regarding the call which I had made at his office on January 15, concerning a possible concession on sugar in the proposed trade agreement with Peru.
On the question of the attitude of the Department of Agriculture concerning the possibility, if a request were received from the Peruvian Government, of giving some form of commitment regarding the maintenance of Peru’s position as a supplier of sugar for the United States market as compared with its position under the Sugar Act of 1937,19 Dr. Bernhardt stated that as a matter of policy he felt that his Department would be opposed to offering any commitment which might appear to be an infringement by the Executive on the powers of the Congress. As a practical matter, however, Dr. Bernhardt felt that any request which might come from the Peruvian Government for a commitment of the nature indicated could fairly easily be discouraged if it were pointed out that for the duration of the war we would be desirous of securing as much sugar as possible from Peru and therefore the quota system would not stand in the way of enabling Peru to market sugar in this country. Dr. Bernhardt thought also that the additional argument might be used with the Peruvians that it would be very difficult for us at this time to make any commitments concerning a situation which depended so much upon developments in the Far East.
I assured Dr. Bernhardt that we would of course do nothing to encourage a Peruvian request for a commitment, but merely wished to learn the views of Agriculture in case such a request were received.