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

No. 3595

The Secretary of State refers to the Embassy’s despatch No. 107 of September 23 [29],1 on the “Proposed creation of an International Rubber Committee to replace International Rubber Regulation Committee”. On December 7 Sir Ronald Campbell2 delivered a memorandum, of which the following is a summary:

The International Rubber Regulation Agreement3 is due to expire on December 31, and the three remaining signatories, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and India, have decided not to renew it. The three governments agreed, however, in desiring international cooperation in matters affecting rubber, and that the retention of adequate machinery for consultation upon matters dealing with post-war problems of the industry was needed. They have, therefore, signed an agreement constituting a new committee for consultation and the collection of information which will be called the International Rubber Committee.

The memorandum then reviews the achievements of the International Rubber Regulation Committee. It further states that the Foreign Office considers it appropriate that, with the announcement of the intention to permit the International Rubber Regulation Committee to expire and to form the new committee, a brief statement on the accomplishments of the old committee be made. The memorandum indicates that the purpose of this is to reply to statements made about the International Rubber Regulation Committee before the Truman Committee,4 but that it is intended that no reference would be made to the Truman Committee. The memorandum requests the Department’s views on this.

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The memorandum further points out that it is proposed to sign the agreement about December 14 and invites the United States Government to join the new committee before that date, under which circumstances the necessary changes would have to be agreed upon and made.

After consulting with the appropriate officers of the Department and other interested agencies, Mr. Taft,5 the Special Adviser on Supply and Resources, called on Sir Ronald Campbell and informed him that a decision could not be reached on such short notice. Mr. Taft further indicated to Sir Ronald Campbell (1) that it was felt that if the International Rubber Regulation Committee were allowed to expire without linking it to the new committee, this would appear more desirable, (2) that representatives of the United States Government would be prepared at any time to discuss informally with representatives of the British and Netherlands Governments the various matters which would relate to the formation of a new committee, and (3) that such discussions would include the geographic location of the new committee. The proposal, as submitted to the Department, located the new committee in London. It was felt here that the method used in connection with the Far Eastern Emergency Rubber Committee, located both in Washington and London, might be more suitable. Experts on natural rubber production are mostly available in London, whereas experts on synthetic production are mostly available in the United States. The latter could be more readily consulted if there were a committee in Washington. Such experts might have to include petroleum and grain interests. The Washington committee would also make available the views of the rubber trade and, in this manner, American consumers’ interests could more readily be considered.

As a result of this discussion, which apparently led to the British Ambassador’s communicating with London, the Department was informed by telegram from the American Embassy in London6 that it was the British Government’s intention to extend the International Rubber Regulation Committee to April 30, subject to the approval of the Netherlands Government. Subsequently Mr. W. G. Hayter of the British Embassy telephoned Mr. Linz7 of the Department and confirmed this. On December 28 the Department received a letter from the British Embassy, enclosing the text of a communiqué on this subject; a copy of the letter and communiqué are enclosed herewith.8

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On December 28 the Netherlands Minister and Dr. P. Honig, the Netherlands representative on the Washington Far Eastern Emergency Rubber Committee, called on Messrs. Taft and Linz to obtain the Department’s views, which were given to them along the same lines as presented to the British. They were informed that officers of the Department and other interested agencies would be prepared at any time to discuss means of achieving long run international cooperation with respect to rubber. The Netherlands representatives indicated that they were disposed to somewhat limit the scope of the discussion, while the officers of the Department stated that they would be glad to discuss all phases. The Netherlands representatives also indicated that they were in complete agreement with the Department’s views that the International Rubber Regulation Committee should be permitted to expire before any new committee was set up. Dr. Honig stated that, having been in this country for some time now, he realized the importance of not having the new committee linked in any way to the old.

  1. Not printed.
  2. British Minister in the United States.
  3. Signed at London May 7, 1934, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. clxxi, p. 203; for Declaration dated October 6, 1938, see ibid., vol. cxcvi, p. 437.
  4. See Investigation of the National Defense Program: Hearings before a Special Committee of the Senate Investigating the National Defense Program, 77th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1942), pt. 11, pp. 4527–4534 passim, and pp. 4786–4789 passim.
  5. Charles P. Taft was appointed Director of the Office of Wartime Economic Affairs on January 15, 1944.
  6. Telegram 8797, December 18, 1943, from London, not printed.
  7. Paul F. Linz, Adviser on Raw Materials Production and Resources in the Supply and Resources Division.
  8. Not printed.