560.AL/6–647: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva ( Troutman ) to the Secretary of State


452. For Clayton from Wilcox and Hawkins. When you stop in London on return you should have following situation in mind.

In our opinion Helmore is not approaching negotiations here in spirit shown by Liesching and Robbins in Washington.1 We are convinced he desires face-saving charter draft and trade agreement but has no intention making serious modification in system of Empire preference. We believe he wishes to place responsibility on us for failure of conference to achieve purposes contemplated. Our position on wool gives him only opportunity he had to do this. It is our impression Helmore is delighted with action of House on import fee and that he expects and hopes that we will not be able to make a new offer to Australia. In this case he will have excuse he seeks. If President approves TAC recommendation, however, his strategy will fail completely. We should then break stalemate with southern Dominions and [Page 954] push those agreements to rapid conclusion thus remove all support for UK position and then bring full pressure to bear on preferences in UK. Situation would also enable us simultaneously to strike hard on all other fronts where negotiations are now lagging.

In this event suggest you may wish to consider giving indication our intentions to Douglas2 and Cripps.3 Are not sure Helmore’s attitude is shared by Cripps.4 [Wilcox and Hawkins.]

  1. Reference here is to the informal exploratory talks on post-war commercial collaboration held in Washington in September 1943. Among the participants were Sir Percival Liesching of the British Board of Trade, and Lionel C. Robbins, Head of the Economic Section of the War Cabinet Secretariat.
  2. Lewis A. Douglas, U.S. Ambassador in the United Kingdom.
  3. Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade.
  4. Cripps’ views were somewhat clarified in a speech made at the opening of a branch plant of the National Cash Register Company in Dundee, Scotland, on June 11, a summary of which is contained in telegram 3241 from London, June 12, not printed. In telegram 3242, June 12, not printed, Chargé Gallman reported that Cripps’ speech “represents first official utterance to our knowledge wherein Government discounts ITO as solution current international economic problems.” (560.AL/6–1247)