560.AL/3–446: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Gallman) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

2573. Embtel 2561, March 4, 4 p.m.45 For Wilcox, Stinebower and Brown from Hawkins. In further discussions with Liesching and Shackle, they gave reasons for objecting both to the meeting in June, as suggested in urtel 1806 of Feb 27 [26] and to the earlier meeting for getting agreement on our proposals as suggested in Embtel 2439, of Feb 28, 6 p.m.

A specific objection to the June meeting is that the delegates attending the meeting of ECOSOC would not be those best qualified to consider and give their reactions to our proposals. They point out that only three Empire countries are represented on the Council and that if those not represented were to send representatives, they might be only officials designated for the purpose from diplomatic missions in Washington rather than qualified people who would be preoccupied at home with preparing for the September meeting.

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They think our memorandum on procedure,46 supplemented as may be required, should be sufficient to cover the preparatory steps and that it would be preferable to seek agreement on substance through bilateral discussions with the countries concerned. They say that countries which have accepted invitations to the September meeting have implicitly agreed to our proposals as the basis for discussion and that this affords sufficient basis for the preparation of schedules.

The British also object that the Preparatory Committee, if it should meet in April or June, would take over the direction of procedural and other preparations for the September negotiations among the nuclear countries.

They also object to any meeting for the purpose of seeking agreement on principles, because they feel that the countries concerned will be more interested in the tariff schedules than in the general principles and will be much more inclined to accept the latter if the two are considered at the same time. They believe that there will be much greater pressure on countries to come to agreement at a more formal and more publicized meeting such as the one in September than would be the case in a meeting on principles alone. A further consideration is that they feel committed to have a meeting among the Empire countries before they participate in any broader international meeting on this subject, and they feel that it would be impracticable to hold the Empire meeting earlier than about 6 weeks in advance of the September meeting.

2. We are inclined to think that the underlying reason for the Board Trade attitude is that by getting a solid Empire front regarding US tariff rates of interest to the Empire before all of the Empire countries have agreed to the general provisions, they would enter the September negotiations with the strongest possible bargaining position to obtain maximum US tariff reductions. There was no indication that Liesching had consulted British officials concerned with ECOSOC matters. [Hawkins.]

  1. Not printed.
  2. i.e., the February 6 memorandum, p. 1280.