560.AL/5–1149: Telegram

The Chairman of the United States Delegation (Willoughby) to the Secretary of State


99. For CP and OFD. Informed NAC discussing European exchange rates.1 Have revived repeated confirmation several sources believed reliable that regardless public statements officials UK responsible commercial policy, allegedly including Cripps,2 convinced Europe unable compete United States and necessary maintain indefinitely European prices at high level by means trade and currency Controls. This view discussed unofficially by British national at length recent dinner officials OEEC countries now Annecy. British apparently believe high price area Europe will assist empire preference and sterling block discriminations bolster own high cost economy.

At same dinner meeting other countries reportedly did not voice clear-cut opposition but from other indications believe continental countries more amenable than UK to persuasion desirability equalizing price levels to permit elimination discriminatory controls. Continental countries also less strongly opposed adjusting exchange rates where appropriate to accomplish this result.

Convinced greatest importance develop US policy re exchange rates and other monetary problems to ensure real progress near future toward reduction discriminatory trade controls. Must be done while ECA bargaining power strong and domestic situation US would permit revaluation European currencies without effective opposition protectionist interests US charging exchange dumping.

Sent Department, repeated Paris 6, for Harriman and London 2.

  1. The National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Problems (NAC) was an interdepartmental committee established by the Bretton Woods Agreements Act of July 31, 1945 (59 Stat. 512). The act provided for U.S. participation in the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development The National Advisory Council was to coordinate policies and operations of the U.S. Government with respect to U.S. relations with the two Bretton Woods institutions.
  2. Sir Stafford Cripps, British Chancellor of the Exchequer.