The Director of the Office of International Trade Policy (Wilcox) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Clayton)52


We have reached the point in our trade program where a definite date (subject to change only if the British loan fails or is unduly delayed)53 must be set for the preliminary trade meeting. Physical and other preparations for the meeting require this, and the British have asked us for an immediate answer.

When a date is agreed upon, the British plan to announce it in Parliament together with an invitation to industry and trade (in general terms without mention of specific products) to express their views on concessions to be asked and offered.

I recommend that we set September 1 as the definite date for the opening of the meeting. This would mean that our public notice of intention to negotiate should be issued not later than June 1. A detailed time-table is set out in the attached memorandum.

Before we commit ourselves to this time-table, however, I think we should take precautions to be sure we can carry through notwithstanding the pressures which are certain to develop when our public notice is issued.

You have read Harry Hawkins’ letter to you on this subject. Two [Page 1306] points stand out. 1) We must be sure that, once we have agreed to September 1, we are not going to let the fear of political pressures result in postponement of the public notice until after the elections. 2) We must be sure that such pressures in the months following public notice will not be permitted to hamper the operation of the trade-agreements organization and thus defeat our objectives.

With this in mind, I have prepared the attached memorandum to the President54 which I feel should be discussed personally with him by the Secretary or the Acting Secretary and yourself. Only in this way, I believe, can we be reasonably certain that we will not be saddled with commitments that could wreck the whole program.

The British have asked us for a reply by April 4.55


Time-table of Preparations for Preliminary Meeting on Trade and Employment

The following is a tentative time-table for completion of the various stages of preparation for the preliminary meeting on trade and employment.

March 15 Transmittal of draft Charter of ITO to TAC and subcommittees of ECEFP. This has been done.
April 15 TAC and subcommittees of ECEFP to complete consideration of draft Charter.
April 22 Transmittal of revised draft Charter to ECEFP.
April 23–Mav 7 ECEFP action on draft Charter.
May 15–30 Issuance of public notice of intention to negotiate.
May 22 Transmittal of Charter recommended by ECEFP to countries members of ECOSOC Preparatory Committee (prior clearance with President).
July 1–15 Closing date for submission of briefs and applications to be heard.
July 15–30 Public hearings to begin.
Sept. 1 Preparatory Committee to begin consideration of non-trade barrier provisions of Charter.
Aus. 15–30 Public hearings to close.
Sept. 1–15 Final recommendations to President as a result of public hearings.
Sept. 15–Oct. 1 Trade-barrier negotiations to begin.
  1. Marginal notation by John M. Leddy, Adviser on general commercial policy, Division of Commercial Policy: “Read to Mr. Clayton by Mr. Wilcox, Apr. 3, ’46”.
  2. For documentation on this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vi, pp. 1 ff.
  3. Draft not printed; see memorandum of April 4, p. 1307.
  4. Reported by the London Embassy in telegram 3635, April 1, not printed; subsequently the Embassy reported that the British Government had agreed to postpone the proposed announcement in Parliament until April 15.