The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Czechoslovakia (Steinhardt)

No. 1489

Sir: Reference is made to the agreement on commercial policy effected by exchange of notes November 14, 1946 between the Government of Czechoslovakia and the Government of the United States, paragraph 6 of which contemplates the inauguration at the earliest practicable date of negotiations looking toward the conclusion between the two Governments of a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation.1 You will recall having suggested, during your visit to Washington in January and February,2 that it appeared practicable to proceed toward the consummation of that objective as soon as the necessary preliminary preparations of a technical nature could be completed within the Department. Accordingly, there are transmitted herewith five copies of a draft of articles prepared to serve as a basis [Page 228] for negotiating a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation with Czechoslovakia.

The draft transmitted herewith follows a technically improved version of the draft prepared for another country which you reviewed when you were in Washington, except for the military service provision and certain modifications necessary to adapt the draft to the circumstances of Czechoslovakia.3 It thus reflects in general the principles that the Department believes should, ideally, be mutually subscribed to by the United States and all other countries having economic and political systems to which a bilateral undertaking of this kind can be accommodated. It does not, on the other hand, reflect any intent on the part of the Department to secure unfair advantages for the United States or to advance unreasonable proposals for bargaining purposes.

Changes of particular significance in this draft, as compared with the draft which you previously reviewed, are as follows:

[Here follow the texts of the changes under reference.]

The Department considers the conclusion of a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation with Czechoslovakia to be highly desirable, and would be pleased if discussions for that purpose could be inaugurated in the very near future. You are requested, therefore, unless you perceive objection, to present one or more copies of the enclosed draft to the Minister for Foreign Affairs or other appropriate official of the Czechoslovak Government, and to ascertain whether that Government would be disposed to enter into formal negotiations on the basis of this draft. The official to whom the draft is presented should be informed that, although it represents a maturely considered formulation of proposals, the Department reserves the right to introduce further modifications from time to time as may appear appropriate.

The Department will await word from you before furnishing a copy of the draft to the Czechoslovak Embassy here.4

No publicity as to the proposals themselves or as to the presentation of the draft is desired at the present time.

Very truly yours,

For the Acting Secretary of State:
C. Tyler Wood
  1. For the text of the agreement under reference, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) No. 1569.
  2. Ambassador Steinhardt was in Washington for consultation during January and February.
  3. The draft under reference is not printed. For the text of a treaty which closely resembled the draft under reference here, see the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the United States and Italy, signed in Rome, February 2, 1948, Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) No. 1965.
  4. Despatch 3100, September 24, from Praha, not printed, reported that on September 22 three copies of the draft articles under reference were made available to the Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry. Zdenek Augenthaler, Chief of the Economic Section, expressed the belief that the time was propitious to begin work toward the conclusion of a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation (711.60F2/9–2447). On October 20, copies of the draft articles were handed to the Czechoslovak Embassy in Washington.