560.AL/3–2046: Telegram

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

us urgent

3237. From Hawkins to Clayton, Wilcox, Stinebower, and Brown. Following are our reactions to ideas in urtel 2268, March 13, 8 p.m.:

With regard to your point that it would be difficult to get wide [Page 1300] agreement on principles in absence of use of our tariff bargaining power, we recognize that negotiated tariff schedules embodying not only our own offers but the aggregate offers of other nuclear countries, would undoubtedly exert a favorable psychological influence on countries otherwise reluctant to accept certain of our “proposals”, e.g., general abolition of quantitative restrictions. However, we think that a separate meeting on the “proposals” in advance of tariff negotiations which afforded opportunity for thorough elucidation and discussion would result in a very large measure of, although probably not complete, agreement. The “proposals” on first study seem complicated and the flexibility provided to meet varying situations in which countries find themselves may easily be overlooked. A good deal of explanation and discussion will be necessary before general acceptance can be expected and we doubt whether this could be done effectively through bilateral discussions which would involve uneconomical use of our manpower and which probably would not be taken seriously enough by the other parties. Much of this time-consuming work could be disposed of and a large measure of agreement could be reached through round-table discussions before the nuclear negotiating meeting takes up its heavy load. Under this procedure the bargaining power of tariff schedules would not be wasted on matters concerning which wide agreement is possible in absence of tariff schedules; it would be conserved for the few precise issues still unresolved.
A further consideration to which neither we nor the Brit may have given sufficient attention is the need for carrying out the ECOSOC resolution establishing the preparatory committee to prepare an annotated draft agenda and draft convention as it seems to us that when the preparatory committee meets it must necessarily discuss and attempt to obtain at least tentative agreement on bases and principles if it is to carry out its assigned task. The first meeting of this committee, called to work out the annotated draft agenda, would naturally afford what seems to us an ideal opportunity to seek to obtain a large measure of, although probably not complete, agreement on our “proposals” in advance of tariff negotiations.
In the light of the foregoing, the following procedural steps, in chronological order, are suggested:
Meeting of ECOSOC preparatory committee to prepare annotated agenda. In this meeting we would seek to get the largest possible measure of agreement of our “proposals” without, however, setting up complete agreement as our goal (this reflects a change in our thinking, in the light of urtel 2268, from that expressed in our tel 2439, 28th, 6 p.m.). Any unsettled points of substance would be put over for further consideration, particularly in the nuclear meeting, when they could be considered in relation to the overall results attained in those negotiations. Even though agreement was not reached on all [Page 1301] points at the initial meeting of the preparatory committee we would make the point that on preparing schedules for the nuclear negotiating meeting, tariff rates only should be considered; that non-tariff trade controls should be dealt with in the general provisions to be embodied in the convention;
At or near the end of the preparatory committee meeting the US would distribute its draft convention or “charter” for consideration first at the nuclear meeting and later by the preparatory committee. The draft convention would, of course, deal with any unresolved points in accordance with our own views.
Nuclear meeting to negotiate tariff schedules and convention would meet after sufficient lapse of time to permit adequate preparatory work. Non-nuclear members of the preparatory committee could attend nuclear meeting and participate in consideration of the convention, but since the nuclear meeting may last for 3 or 4 months, these members might prefer to await the outcome of the nuclear negotiations before attending another meeting of the preparatory committee at which the text of the convention worked out by the nuclear group would be gone over by the full committee.
If the Dept should view favorably program along the above lines our first task would be to try to convince Brit of desirability of separating negotiations on schedules from those on the principles to the extent above suggested. This might be possible since we feel a very strong case can be made for it. Even if Board of Trade should continue to object it seems unlikely that Brit Govt as a whole would oppose earlier meeting of ECOSOC committee for above purpose if a considerable number of the countries concerned should advocate it with or without a lead from us.
There would remain the question timing. If the nuclear meeting is to be held in September the Brit would raise objections to prior consideration of our “proposals” on the ground that it would take the time of people in many countries who are busily engaged in preparing for the Sept negotiations. They might be persuaded to drop this objection if we could convince them of the desirability of trying to get the maximum possible agreement on the “proposals” prior to the nuclear negotiations, but in that event they might take the view that interruption resulting from meeting on principles would require more time for preparatory work for nuclear meeting and consequently suggest that the Sept meeting be postponed in order to allow for this. However, this would provide a better reason for postponement than domestic considerations (our 2907, Mar 12)47 in the event the Dept should consider a few months delay desirable on the latter grounds.
The foregoing suggestions differ from your ideas for an August 1st meeting in that we would not deliberately hold over until [Page 1302] the nuclear meeting the difficult and important section on non-tariff trade barriers but would try beforehand to narrow down to precise points the issues arising in that section, or even to resolve them. They resolve them. They differ also in that the formal setting of the discussions we contemplate would be the first meeting of the preparatory committee called to work out a draft annotated agenda. This distinction seems important to us for the reason that it should be relatively easy to postpone the attempt to resolve any matters of critical importance to the nuclear meeting. If the first meeting of the preparatory committee did not result in agreement on a draft annotated agenda satisfactory to us it should be relatively easy also to get the meeting adjourned until sufficient progress had been made in the nuclear negotiations to insure satisfactory results at second meeting of the preparatory committee. On the assumption of a Sept negotiating meeting we think the timing of your August meeting would come too late to lay the basis for the preparatory work on schedules.
In general the consideration that dominates our thinking on these matters is the need for thorough and careful preparation for an undertaking of such great complexity and difficulty as the nuclear meeting most certainly will prove to be. In our minds this consideration outweighs even the objections to postponing the nuclear meeting if this should prove to be necessary.
We have not discussed the foregoing with the Brit. Nor have we as yet advised the Brit of your acceptance of London as a site as authorized in your 2291, Mar 1448 as this would cause steps to be taken and commitments to be made on the basis of Sept as the definite and final time for the nuclear meeting. We cannot, however, delay advising the Brit very long and it is therefore important that decisions be reached as soon as possible. [Hawkins.]

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