The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Brazil (Donnelly)

No. 6383

The Secretary of State refers to the Embassy’s despatch no. 17237 of August 4, 1944,69a entitled “Mexico is receiving better treatment than Brazil in connection with imports from the United States,” and to the Embassy’s request that it receive a statement of the Department’s views on the subject.

It has come to the attention of the Department that in some quarters the establishment of the Mexican-American Commission for Economic Cooperation, and the activities which have taken place under the auspices of the Commission, have been misconstrued as indicating an intention on the part of the United States Government to extend greater aid or cooperation to Mexico than to other American republics. This unfortunate misinterpretation of the purpose and work of the Mexican-American Commission has been discussed a number of times by inter-agency committees in Washington with a view to preventing any further misunderstanding of the purposes of the Commission. Representatives of these agencies, including the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, and the Foreign Economic Administration, have agreed that they should carry on their work in conformity with the principle which the Department has enunciated, i.e., equality of treatment for all the other American republics that are participating with the United Nations in the joint war effort in the allocation of materials and equipment in short supply.

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The Mexican-American Commission was not formed with the idea of extending preferential treatment to Mexico as that would have been in direct conflict with this Government’s long-standing and consistent position that the principle of equality of treatment is the basis of all acceptable commercial policy.

This policy of equality of treatment was publicly set forth in the statements made by responsible officials of this Government at the time of the adoption of the Third Resolution of the Consultative Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics held at Rio de Janeiro in 1942.70 The Resolution, entitled “Maintenance of the Internal Economy of the American Countries” recommended inter alia that “all the nations of this continent have access, with the greatest possible degree of equality, to inter-American commerce and to the raw materials which they require for the satisfactory and prosperous development of their respective economies, provided, however, that they shall give preferential treatment to the nations at war for equal access to materials essential to their defense; and that, in agreements which may be concluded, the essential needs of other American countries be considered with a view to preventing dislocations in their domestic economies.”

The long-established practice of this Government and the multilateral commitments which the United States and the Mexican Governments have entered into, would preclude this Government taking any action which would grant to Mexico, or to any other of the American republics, members of the United Nations, treatment in the supplying of materials or equipment on any basis other than that of equality of treatment.

The Embassy has recognized that conditions of proximity have, in some instances, made it much less difficult to supply certain requirements to Mexico compared to further distant countries. The application of the policy of equality of treatment presents unusual administrative difficulties, but every effort has been made by the appropriate agencies to proceed in a nondiscriminatory manner in the making of allocations and the granting of export licenses for materials in short supply. This Department has, of course, supported and encouraged the other agencies in their implementation and administration of this policy.

The Embassy is authorized, in its discretion, to refer to this Government’s policy in this matter when and if it should be considered desirable to do so.

  1. Not printed.
  2. For text of the Resolution, see Pan American Union, Congress and Conference Series No. 36: Report on the Third Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, Rio de Janeiro, January 15–28, 1942 (Washington, 1942), p. 35; for correspondence, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. v, pp. 6 ff.