560.AL/1–2749: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom


558. For Bliss from Brown.1 Renewal Trade Agreements Act passed House [of Representatives] Feb 9 (urdes 139 Jan 27). Consideration Senate expected shortly. President will submit ITO Charter Cong upon favorable action TA Act, probably in few weeks. Charter not on legislative calendar but Dept working Cong leaders on this and expect decision week or two. Unlikely hearings begin in House before end Mar and likely take two months or more before final Cong action.

Timing important. Dept feels it natural other countries awaiting leadership U.S. Dept feels Parliamentary debate on Charter concurrent with Cong debate confusing rather than helpful but hopes Brit prepared take action as soon as Cong has acted.

[Page 658]

Re Fin Agree nothing report since conversations State-Treasury Jan 5, copy sent Emb.2 Will keep Emb informed timing ITO legis and consideration Fin Agree. [Brown.]

  1. Winthrop G. Brown, Director of the Office of International Trade Policy.
  2. The memorandum of January 5 recording the conversation referred to herein is not printed. The participants from the two Departments were concerned that questions would be raised in impending Congressional hearings on European Recovery Program legislation, with respect to the supersession of section 9 of the Financial Agreement by relevant provisions of the ITO Charter. There was agreement that though the British had “substantially observed” section 9 in the past, the 1948–1949 ECA United Kingdom program would “undoubtedly involve discrimination”. This would be allowable under the ITO Charter, and “there was agreement that the relevant provisions of the ITO Charter should supersede section 9”. (560.AL/1–549) The Embassy in London later reported in its telegram 1703, May 3, 2 p. m., that this information had come to the Embassy through U.S. Treasury channels, that it had been communicated informally to British Board of Trade officials who were “gratified” (560.AL/5–349). Subsequently in 1949 the question ceased to have practical meaning in this particular form with the indifferent progress of the ITO legislation in the Congress.