Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. William T. Phillips of the Commodities Division

Participants: Mr. E. Keith Jopson, Commercial Secretary, British Embassy
Mr. Haley,16 State
Mr. Phillips, State

On April 15 Mr. Haley and I called upon Mr. E. Keith Jopson at the British Embassy to explain the difficulties which might be encountered by the Department if the International Rubber Regulation Agreement were to be extended for an additional three month period. Mr. Jopson, in his letter of April 11, addressed to Mr. Hawkins,17 had informed the Department that provisional preparations were being made to extend the agreement in order “to avoid legal difficulties arising from the custody of records and funds”.

Mr. Haley pointed out that extension of the agreement would, very probably, be construed by the United States rubber interests as confirmation of their suspicion that the new proposed agreement was to be merely a continuation of the old agreement with the addition of United States participation. However illogical and unfounded this suspicion might be it would, nevertheless, hamper the [Page 960] Department in its attempts to convince the rubber industry of the desirability of international cooperation on matters relating to rubber and rubber substitutes if any events apparently confirming the connection between the two agreements were to occur.

Mr. Jopson suggested that it was difficult to ask the Foreign Office to let the old agreement terminate until such time as an answer had been received from the United States Government regarding participation in a new rubber agreement. Mr. Haley stressed the point that the Department was not asking for termination, since this government is not a party to the old agreement, but was merely indicating the expected reaction of the rubber industry and the effect which extension might have on efforts to prepare the way for a new agreement.

Mr. Jopson drafted a cable to the London Foreign Office stating that extension of the old agreement would “hamper” United States internal negotiations regarding an international rubber agreement due to the suspicions on the part of industry that there was a connection between the existing agreement and the proposed new agreement. The cable further stated that substantial agreement among United States government officials had been reached and that a meeting with the rubber industry was scheduled for May 2, 1944. He inserted a sentence in the cable to the effect that the Department was not “unduly pessimistic” about the outlook for participation of the United States in an international rubber agreement in the not too distant future.

  1. Bernard F. Haley, Chief, Commodities Division.
  2. Not found in Department files.