Memorandum by the Acting Secretary of State to the President


There are enclosed for your approval the recommendations of the Interdepartmental Committee on Trade Agreements with respect to concessions to be requested of and offered to twenty-three of the twenty-four countries with which the United States is to negotiate tariff concessions at the Third Set of Tariff Negotiations by the Contracting Parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, scheduled to open at Torquay, England on September 28.1 Supplementary [Page 798] recommendations will be transmitted to you later regarding negotiations with Cuba, and regarding action on the additional items listed in the second supplementary list for negotiations with the other countries. As stated in the accompanying memorandum, further requests for additional authority may be forthcoming as the negotiations proceed. The recommendations submitted herewith constitute the bulk of the total and are believed to provide an adequate basis on which to open negotiations.

These recommendations, including the recommendations to which there are dissents, have my support-. The time has come to move ahead in the program to reduce tariff and other trade barriers, not only by extending the coverage of the Agreement to additional countries, as this conference will do, but also by extending the mutual concessions among countries already parties to the General Agreement.

As the Chairman of the Interdepartmental Committee has pointed out in his memorandum, it may be contended that the grave international situation should preclude further action on particular products at this time. We are convinced that such arguments are not well-founded but come from interests which fear without justification the effects of increased competition from imports. Far from constituting a reason for hesitation or delay, the gravity of the international situation is, in our opinion, an added reason for pushing forward with this program as a means of strengthening the domestic economy as well as the economies of friendly nations.

The national security interest has been carefully safeguarded and the Department of Defense concurs with the Committee’s recommendations. Furthermore, care has been exercised throughout to avoid recommendations which would involve the risk of serious injury to any domestic industry.

I therefore support the recommendations of the Committee and urge that they be approved.

James E. Webb
  1. Not attached, but see TAC memorandum, September 26, infra.