Memorandum by the Chief of the Commercial Policy Staff ( Beale ) to the Director of the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State ( McWilliams )1


Subject: Proposed United States Offer on Wool

As I told you by telephone, the Secretary of Agriculture has talked with the President about the offer on wool which the Committee on Trade Agreements has recommended should be made at Torquay and which is opposed by the Department of Agriculture. On the basis of a conversation with a member of Dr. Steelman’s staff, I recommend that Mr. Webb talk with the President about wool at the earliest opportunity. The Torquay Conference opens today (September 28) and the President may make his decision on the offer list within the next day or so. Wool is probably the most important single item in the tariff negotiations and is the key not only to the negotiations with Australia and New Zealand but, on the basis of our experience at Geneva, will largely affect the outcome of our negotiations with the British.

Attached is a memorandum which it is recommended Mr. Webb use as a basis for his conversation with the President.


Proposed United States Offer on Wool

On Tuesday last the Committee on Trade Agreements forwarded to you for your approval its recommendations regarding the concessions we should offer and the requests we should make in the Torquay [Page 804] tariff negotiations. No doubt your staff will be discussing these recommendations with you soon, as the Conference opens formally today (the 28th). The Committee’s recommendations were unanimous except on a few items (raw wool, wool noils, grapes, raisins, certain kinds of hair, and cotton cloth). The report which I forwarded to you contains full comments by the majority of the Committee on those items as well as the views of the two dissenting Agencies (Agriculture and Labor).

I want to mention wool particularly, because of its importance to the success of the negotiations.

The proposed offer on finer wools is to the legal limit (17 cents per pound) on the main category and practically to the limit on the remainder. The proposal on coarse apparel wool cuts about half way to the legal limit from present rates (about 30 percent cute).

The point I would like to emphasize is that the wool items are the most important products in the negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. In our judgment neither country will negotiate with us without the offer of a reduction in the duty on wool. Equally important, however, is the fact that failure to conclude negotiations with Australia and New Zealand may seriously affect the success of our negotiations with Great Britain. You will recall that a concession on wool was a key consideration in the success of the Geneva Conference in 1947. Without the bargaining power which a reduction in the wool duty gives us, we will not be able to secure the reduction or elimination of the preferences Britain gives Australia and New Zealand on products of great importance to our export trade.

  1. Marginal notation: “Mr. Webb took the attached to the W[hite] H[ouse] on 9/28/50.”