Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. James H. Lewis of the Division of Commercial Policy

Participants: Mr. S. D. Chard, Cotton Adviser to the Government of India
Mr. Norris, United States Department of Agriculture
Mr. Corse,74 CP
Mr. Ross,75 CP
Colonel Cook,76 SR
Mr. Evans,77 CD
Mr. Phillips,78 CD
Mr. Linville,79 SR
Mr. Lewis, CP

Mr. Chard called with reference to the memorandum which the Agent General for India handed to Mr. Acheson80 on December 4, 1944, in which reference was made to the relative positions of the United States and India in cotton export markets and the effects of the United States cotton subsidy program on India’s trade.

Mr. Corse explained to Mr. Chard the background of the subsidy program, mentioning the legislative authority and the WFA81 announcements [Page 278] implementing the program. He pointed out that the program was a corollary of the domestic program of assistance to American cotton growers and that it was not the intention of the Government of the United States to enter into a competitive cotton price war. He said he believed the actual operation of the cotton program in its few weeks of existence substantiated this statement and it was expected that future operations would bear it out.

Mr. Corse then referred to Mr. Acheson’s recent statement82 before a special subcommittee of the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, in which he indicated it was desirable to deal with problems like the cotton problem on a basis of international cooperation, and Mr. Corse referred to the proposed meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee which is to be primarily for the purpose of drawing up a recommendation to governments in regard to possible international collaboration in respect of cotton. Mr. Corse indicated that this Government hoped that all aspects of the problem, including the effects of the United States program on India, could be discussed at that time (probably January 1945).

Mr. Chard expressed his satisfaction with our attitude, and said that the India Government was fully aware of the reasons for our subsidy program and only wanted in a friendly way to make sure that we were aware of India’s interests and the possible repercussions of our program on India’s trade.

Colonel Cook emphasized that at present our program was not harming India but Mr. Chard said it was necessary to make plans a year in advance. He said the American proposal for a meeting of the International Cotton Advisory Committee in January had been forwarded to the India Government by the Agent General here but no definite reply had yet been received. He felt sure, however, that the India Government would welcome the proposed meeting of the Committee and would be glad to see some international solution of the problem.

There was discussion of the technical aspects of the memorandum received from the India Agent General, and Mr. Chard was questioned particularly regarding the comparability of the price data which was quoted for Indian and American cotton to indicate the possible harmful effects of the United States subsidy. Mr. Chard said he felt sure the price data and types and grades shown were generally comparable although comparison was very difficult because of changes this year in grade classifications for Indian cotton.

Mr. Corse said a memorandum along the lines of the conversation would be prepared for the Agent General.

  1. Carl D. Corse, Assistant Chief of the Division of Commercial Policy.
  2. James A. Ross, Jr., Assistant Chief of the Division of Commercial Policy.
  3. Everett R. Cook, adviser, Supply and Resources Division.
  4. James G. Evans of the Commodities Division.
  5. William T. Phillips of the Commodities Division.
  6. Francis A. Linville of the Supply and Resources Division.
  7. Dean Acheson, Assistant Secretary of State.
  8. War Food Administration.
  9. Statement regarding United States cotton policy, made on December 5 at the cotton conference of the Subcommittee of the House of Representatives for the study of policies of post-war agriculture, released to the press December 5, Department of State Bulletin, December 10, 1944, p. 700.