Memorandum by the Chairman of the Inter-American Coffee Board (Cale)44

The Inter-American Coffee Board meets at 10:30 a.m., December 19th. A meeting has been arranged between representatives of the Board and Judge Vinson at 2:00 p.m. on the same day at which the present coffee supply situation will be discussed. I have indicated to the members of the Board that a second meeting of the Board may be called on December 19th following the meeting with Judge Vinson.

I believe that all of us in the Department are agreed that the quotas under the Inter-American Coffee Board should be increased as soon as it becomes apparent that rationing is about to be resumed. I am not sure that there is a definite understanding as to just when such action may be necessary. For that reason and because of the importance of the matter to our relations with the other American republics, I should like to have very specific instructions as to the attitude that I should take regarding the question of a quota increase while meeting with the Board on December 19th. The following is my recommendation:

That I request the Board to postpone the question of quotas until after the meeting with Judge Vinson at 2:00 p.m. (the item “quotas” is on the agenda of the meeting of December 19th, but members of the Board have been advised that there will probably be an afternoon session).
That I definitely arrange during the Board’s meeting on the morning of December 19th for an afternoon meeting following the discussion with Judge Vinson.
That I vote for an increase in the quotas during this afternoon Session which will make the quotas virtually ineffective, should it be apparent that representatives of the producing countries are unwilling after the meeting with Judge Vinson to acquiesce in the decision that there is to be no increase in coffee ceiling prices.
That I vote for such an increase during the morning meeting, should delegates of the producing countries ask again for a postponement of the meeting with Judge Vinson or for its cancellation.

In the event that Judge Vinson should inform the delegates that there is to be no increase in coffee ceiling prices and if representatives of the producing countries are unwilling to accept that decision, it is my opinion that refusal to increase the quotas would mean failure on our part to support Judge Vinson’s decision. Such failure would, in fact, mean that we were, to some extent, protecting the producing countries in their continued opposition to the stand taken by Judge Vinson.

It is my understanding that Judge Vinson expects to reinstitute coffee rationing around January 1st, unless there is an improvement in the volume of coffee sales. Failure of the representatives of the coffee producing countries to accept the Judge’s decision will, in my opinion, mean that there is little likelihood of sales increasing prior to January 1st, and I believe that the afternoon of December 19th is not too early to authorize a quota increase, if rationing is being resumed on January 1st. This is, in fact, the last date on which the Board is likely to meet until after the beginning of the new year.

Please let me have your views as soon as possible.45

Edward G. Cale
  1. Addressed to the Chief (Stinebower) and the Assistant Chief (Haley) of the Division of Economic Studies, the Acting Deputy Director of the Office of American Republic Affairs (McGurk), and the Assistant Secretary of State (Acheson).
  2. The Department officers to whom this recommendation was addressed indicated their agreement in the margin.