560.AL/3–1148: Telegram

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

secret   us urgent

1011. For Ambassador Douglas1 and Brown from Bliss.2 BOT presented Embassy tonight with memorandum3 following meeting cabinet committee on question of difficulties between US and UK delegates [Page 888] Havana over problem transitional period as between IMF provisions Havana text and paragraph 3 Geneva text in view of US insistence that both should apply. Memo states:

“We never understood the reference in the US communication of March 5 to rules to include the method by which the period of operation of the rules should be determined. We would, however, be ready to agree that either the period should be determined by reference to IMF provisions or by the provisions of the Geneva text. It would not be possible to defend in Parliament a text which put a double limitation on countries exercising the Geneva option. It is very much hoped that the State Department will be able to put this point to the USDel in Havana and ask them to work out with the UKDel and others a form of text which makes this clear.”

Memo also requests Department ask USDel support timetable which would not involve final decisions at committee stage in next two or three days. This because full Cabinet decision will be required not only on Article 23, but on other provisions including particularly Article 15 on new preferences which already indicated are causing great concern.

Embassy understands full text memo being cabled British Embassy Washington with Foreign Office instructions present Lovett tomorrow with strong representations re seriousness of situation. Apparently Wilson had rough time with Cabinet committee and must have some improvement with which to face full Cabinet on Monday. Sorest point is Article 15 and preferences which British agree is not US fault and US assistance much appreciated but this is in effect knife-edge on which Cabinet acceptance of charter is balanced. Wilson feels that if he has to overcome added difficulty of confusion over Article 23 it may be too much. What he needs is clear acceptable text Article 23 and time through Monday if he is going to put it over.

Since his message essentially political issue, not repeated Havana. [Bliss.]

  1. Ambassador Douglas was in Washington to participate in the “Pentagon Talks” on security. For documentation, see vol. v, Part 1, pp. 69 ff.
  2. Don C. Bliss, Counselor of Embassy for Economic Affairs at London.
  3. Not printed.