501.BB/1–2246: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State

us urgent

797. Delun 118. Resolution regarding an International Conference on Trade and Employment proposed by the United States Delegation.

[Page 1278]
The United Nations have already taken important steps toward the establishment of international machinery for the promotion of economic cooperation among nations with the object of preventing and removing economic and social maladjustments, of achieving fairness and equity in economic relations among states and of raising the level of economic well-being among all peoples. The Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development have already been established as contribution in their respective fields toward the achievement of these objectives. The Economic and Social Council has been established as the agency for integrating the activities of all of these agencies into an effective whole.
It is essential that the cooperative economic measures already taken be supplemented by further measures dealing directly with trade barriers and discriminations which stand in the way of an expansion of multilateral trade and by an undertaking on the part of nations to seek full employment.
Cooperative action with respect to employment is indispensable to the success of such other measures as those dealing with monetary and exchange stability and the flow of investment capital. Effective action in regard to employment and to trade barriers and discriminations must therefore be taken or the whole program of international economic cooperation will fail and an economic environment conducive to the maintenance of peaceful international relations will not be created.
The Government of the United States has proposed that the United Nations should call such a conference in 1946 and has published a set of proposals for the expansion of world trade and employment for consideration by the peoples of the world and to serve as a basis for discussion in an international conference. In the belief that previous international conferences in the field of commercial policy have had but limited results because they were for the most part confined to policies in the abstract and not closely enough with arrangements for concrete action, the United States Government has further invited a number of governments to meet together for the negotiation of reduction of specific trade barriers and discriminations in advance of the general International Conference. Similar negotiations are to be proposed to all other countries of like mind as rapidly as possible.
These initiatives have been welcomed by a number of delegations in the opening debate of the General Assembly.32
The Economic and Social Council has been authorized in general by Article 62 of the Charter33 of the United Nations to call international conferences on matters falling within its competence and specifically by Supplementary Rule T of the provisional rules of procedure of the General Assembly to call a conference on international trade and employment.

The Economic and Social Council therefore

Agrees in conformity with Supplementary Rule T to sponsor and to convene an International Conference on Trade and Employment to meet in the latter part of 1946.
Proposes that the major chapters of the agenda of this conference be as follows:
International agreement relating to the achievement and maintenance of high and stable levels of employment and economic activity.
International agreement relating to regulations, restrictions and discriminations affecting international trade.
International agreement relating to restrictive business practices.
International agreement relating to intergovernmental commodity arrangements.
Establishment of an International Trade Organization to be a specialized agency of the United Nations having responsibilities in the field of (b), (c) and (d) above (responsibilities in the field of full employment transcend the field of any one specialized agency and should as recognized by the Charter of the United Nations be vested in the Economic and Social Council rather than in a specialized agency).
Hereby constitutes a Preparatory Committee of the Economic and Social Council to elaborate an annotated draft agenda taking into account suggestions which may be submitted to it by the Economic and Social Council or directly by members of the United Nations. This Preparatory Committee shall consist of the countries participating in the preliminary negotiations for the reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers referred to in paragraph d above with the addition of [Page 1280] two representatives designated by the Economic and Social Council and a representative of the Secretariat of the Council.34

  1. This refers to the general discussion on the Report of the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations that began with a speech by Secretary of State Byrnes on January 14 and was terminated by a speech by the Representative of Syria on January 19; see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, First Session, First Part, Plenary Meetings, pp. 111 ff. (hereafter cited as GA (I/1). For specific references by the Representatives of Denmark and the Netherlands, welcoming the initiative taken by the United States “in tackling the question of freer trade and commerce”, see ibid., pp. 127 and 134, respectively.
  2. For text of the Charter of the United Nations, signed at San Francisco, June 26, 1945, see Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) No. 993, or 59 Stat. (pt. 2) 1031.
  3. From January 23 to February 4 a steady exchange of ideas regarding the proposed draft resolution passed between the Department and the United States Delegation at London. In this exchange the Delegation also transmitted views and suggestions of the British Board of Trade. Documentation is found in the 501.BB file, Department of State central indexed files. The text of the United States draft resolution as submitted to the Economic and Social Council is found in ESC (I), p. 124, annex 1a. The draft resolution was submitted by the United States Representative on the Economic and Social Council (Winant) on February 11; for text of Ambassador Winant’s remarks on this occasion, see ESC (I), pp. 64 ff.