The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Mexico (Messersmith)

No. 6863

Sir: Reference is made to the long-range commercial policy aspects of the Embassy’s despatch no. 21382 of November 16, 194488 in which are presented its comments with respect to prospective action by the Mexican Government to broaden the scope of its present import controls for the protection of Mexican industries in the post-war period. The Department appreciates this full and frank expression of the Embassy’s views as well as its diligent efforts to keep this Government’s views regarding import controls before appropriate Mexican officials.

Because of the apparent direction of Mexican commercial policy at present, the Department believes that additional steps are imperative at this time in an effort to delay or forestall further action by the Mexican Government toward more stringent import restrictions. To that end, if no objection is perceived, you should discuss the matter informally with appropriate Mexican officials along the lines indicated in the following paragraphs.

As a signatory of the Declaration by United Nations,89 the Government of Mexico has subscribed to the program of purposes and principles set forth in the Joint Declaration made on August 14, 1941 by the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, known as the Atlantic Charter.90 In Article VI of the Mutual Aid Agreement between the United States and Mexico, which was signed on March 18, 1943,91 the Government of [Page 1174] Mexico indicated its willingness to work toward the attainment of the economic objectives of the Atlantic Charter. This Government feels very strongly that if those economic objectives are to be attained, it is highly important that no action which would be contrary to them should be taken now by any government, pending the outcome of the conversations designed to implement them which are provided for in Article VI. The Government of Mexico, in that Article, also indicated its willingness to join with this Government in agreed action directed to the elimination of all forms of discriminatory treatment in international commerce and the reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers.

In that connection, the Department is considering informing the Government of Mexico in the near future of its readiness to enter into preliminary exploratory discussions, on the expert level, with respect to a program of action which would accomplish the objectives outlined in Article VI. Discussions would be concerned with commercial policy, including tariffs, quantitative trade restrictions, exchange control, subsidies, preferences and state trading; commodity agreement policy; and cartel policy. Conversations of a similar nature have been held and are being held with representatives of other governments pursuant to provisions of lend-lease agreements corresponding to Article VI of the agreement between the United States and Mexico.

In your discretion as to time and circumstances, you should convey the substance of the foregoing informally to appropriate officials of the Mexican Government and ascertain whether officials on the expert level would be available and disposed to undertake the discussions. You should reiterate strongly this Government’s hope that no measures designed to increase barriers to trade will be considered by Mexican authorities pending the outcome of the contemplated conversations.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
W. L. C[layton]