800.50 Middle East/6–645: Airgram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Egypt (Tuck)

A–298. For Hoskins. The Department believes that it is inadvisable at the present to plan for an economic conference, on a scale and of the type described in your A–245, May 12, 1945, since such a conference might be interpreted as indicative of promotional ambitions on the part of this Government quite out of line with the realities of the situation, cause unnecessary apprehension on the part of the British, and create unfounded expectations on the part of local governments and traders generally. So long as joint Anglo-American controls exist,24 and our broad economic relations with Great Britain are under discussion,25 it is believed wiser not to have our trade efforts publicized dramatically in one particular area.

The Department feels that its interest in the area has been well demonstrated in a number of ways, including the sending of the [Page 43] Culbertson Mission whose recommendations are still under active consideration. Furthermore, the Department is awaiting receipt of comments and suggestions from the field on “American Economic Policy in the Middle East” dated May 2, 1945 which has been sent to each Mission in the area. The Department also hopes that pending legislation concerning Bretton Woods proposals, reciprocal trade agreements and technical advisers may be passed in the near future, thus enabling us more effectively to implement our economic policy.

The Department believes, however, that the basic idea of discussions between appropriate officials in Washington and the staffs of the Missions engaged in implementing our economic policy is of distinct merit and would, in addition to improving the mutual understanding of the work and requirements of the respective officers, serve as a means of clarifying the principles embodied in the economic policy paper referred to above. More specifically, such discussions should be useful:

To assist in promoting sound long-range trading practices looking toward maximum opportunities for private traders in this area;
To discuss with field officers the Department’s present thinking and aims concerning commercial treaties and trade agreements;
To discuss long-range trade possibilities between the United States and the Middle East, considering in this connection the full implications of existent hindrances, such as the dollar-sterling bloc problem, and the possibilities of constructive action in this connection.

The Department is therefore considering the desirability of sending a selected group of officers to the area to meet unostentatiously with the principal economic officers at the various Missions and possibly with local officials, anticipating that the discussions would center chiefly on commercial policy, finance, trade and related matters, including perhaps transportation and petroleum problems.

  1. Through the Middle East Supply Center.
  2. For documentation on this subject, see vol. vi, p. 1 ff.