740.00112 E.W./1–1545: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Switzerland (Huddle)

346. Reurtel 294, January 15 repeated to London as 128.12 1. We are immediately suggesting to the British that an Anglo-American delegation proceed to Bern as soon as possible to negotiate with the Swiss and therefore we prefer not to settle in advance on definite ceilings of Annex I items but rather warn the Swiss to avoid commitments to the Germans on items in which we are especially interested.

While ceilings suggested in your paragraph 1 are in the right direction we hope something better can be obtained if we are successful in reaching an over-all agreement with the Swiss. If the Swiss meet us fairly we intend to be most liberal with respect to imports into Switzerland and most cooperative in arranging for transit across France for Swiss trade. We hope to reduce group 1 items to the vanishing point. With respect to precision instruments, the 1936–1938 average exports to Germany were only 485,000 francs, 1938 total was 569,000 francs. Quota of 9 percent will permit the Swiss to export to the extent of over a million francs. Your proposal does not cover transit traffic or exports of electric power. These topics must be included in any agreement with the Swiss.
We agree with your proposals on vegetable alkaloids and concur that aluminum is probably now of minor importance. We prefer not to release goods covered by last September offer in advance of arrival [Page 774] of delegation. Every effort should be made to keep the situation as flexible as possible pending the arrival of the delegation.

Sent to Bern repeated to London as 475.13

  1. Not printed.
  2. Repeated to London with the following final sentences: “Please concert with the British with respect to proposal to send delegation to Bern for negotiations. We plan to send two representatives from the Department and two from FEA and/or EWD. We will wire you further details shortly and in the meantime please let us know whether the British agree to send delegation and if possible names of British representatives.”