C.F.M. Files: Lot M–88: Box 104

Report of the Conference on the Implementation of the Treaties of Peace, Rome, Italy, June 14–21, 19481


U.S.-Balkan Commercial Treaties

The Conference discussed in some detail the question raised by the fact that our present export control policy constitutes in effect a breach of our outstanding commercial agreements with almost every Eastern European country. Particular attention was given to a determination of whether in order to improve our legal position we should take the initiative in denouncing or revoking these treaties. After considering [Page 547] the treaties country by country, the Conference took account of the following considerations:

No particular advantage appeared to accrue to the United States from the abrogation of the treaties. While a certain amount of propaganda may be made by the Communists out of our breaches of existing treaties, it would be easy to counter and confuse it with valid countercharges of treaty breaches by the Eastern European countries.
On the other hand, the treaties in question contain numerous clauses (covering exchange of consular rights, etc.) which it is in our interest to maintain in force.
A wholesale denunciation by the United States of these treaties, while not really of great importance in itself, could be taken as indicating a withdrawal and lack of interest on our part in the fate of the Eastern European countries. It was also pointed out that such a step might give the appearance of a major breach of relations with the east, and would thus appear to widen the chasm between east and west.

The Conference therefore agreed to recommend:

That no action whatever be taken with respect to these treaties;
That any representations by the eastern countries against our export control policy based on these treaties be countered by pointing out that any country has the right to take such action in the interests of national defense;
That if the eastern countries take the propaganda offensive on this basis, that we should counter with the above statement, backed up by accusations of discrimination on their part.

  1. This Report was circulated to the Treaty Committee as document TIC D–21/16, June 30, 1948, and it was discussed and adopted by the Treaty Committee on July 7, 1948. For the text of the major portion of the Report and an explanation on the convening of the conference, see p. 353. For a description of the Treaty Committee, see the editorial note, p. 310.