560.AL/3–2046: Telegram

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

u.s. urgent

2713. For Hawkins from Wilcox, Stinebower and Brown. Will discuss with Clayton ideas urtel 3237 Mar 20 and their relation to points your letter Mar 6.49 Meanwhile, following represents our own thinking: [Page 1304]

Success our plans will ultimately depend extent US tariff reduction and no amount preparation for meeting will compensate for inadequate contribution by us. This outweighs every other consideration.
Therefore, until beginning definitive negotiations first care must be on home front, and neither Clayton, Wilcox, Brown or key people in other agencies can afford long absence from Washington, or divert attention to other issues, during critical period between public notice and close hearings. Present timetable May 1–Aug 1.
International gathering on Proposals before end of hearings would be misconstrued by domestic opponents. While we would not be discussing tariff concessions, this could not easily be proved, and pressures would mount for commitments against action on specific items. If effective such pressures could prove fatal.
We think meeting on Proposals as such would be crucial since it would inevitably influence and possibly determine fate of subsequent negotiations. We must therefore assess its negotiating risks as well as advantages. We doubt that we could postpone real issues to later negotiations and fear we would be forced to compromise principles for which we could possibly have obtained general approval with adequate tariff inducements. Public reaction to inconclusive adjournment should also be considered. Moreover, to seek wide agreement on principles, postponing until some later date any real demonstration of our concrete tariff contributions would, we fear, deepen skepticism our intentions undoubtedly existing some quarters.
Suggested procedure whereby Preparatory Committee refers matters to nuclear group and vice versa tends sharpen and preserve distinction between two groups, which we hope can be eliminated later (see last para Undel 133, Jan 28 and first para Undel 137, Jan 29).50
Meeting on Proposals would delay preparation tariff requests and offers. Natural tendency would be to await outcome of meeting.
Believe meeting Preparatory Committee on principles, followed after interval by meeting nuclear group to conduct negotiations, followed by another meeting Preparatory Committee, would distract and confuse and fail to achieve momentum which should develop from single meeting.
We fully agree need for thorough preparation to avoid breakdown in extremely difficult and complicated negotiating task ahead. However, believe this can best be done bilaterally, which may sometimes (e.g., current French discussions) offer possibility major results because of financial tie-in.
Whatever course is decided upon should be decided soon and adhered to thereafter. We suggest following:
All members Preparatory Committee, which by then might be identical nuclear group, should meet London August 1 to agree text Charter and negotiate Protocol Trade Barriers referred to memo Feb 6. Discussions trade barriers probably would not start until Sept 1.
We would advance preparations for meeting by all practicable means, including bilateral discussions and advance transmittal draft Charter other countries.
We hope discuss with you Mar 29, by teletype, all these matters in more detail.51 [Wilcox, Stinebower and Brown.]

  1. Letter of March 6 not found in Department files.
  2. Telegram Undel 133 not found in Department files; telegram Undel 137 not printed.
  3. The teletype conference took place on March 30, but no record of it has been found.