394.31/3–1951: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Gifford) to the Secretary of State


4999. Torquay tel 567 Mar 18 to Dept. Fol is text of note which I delivered to Younger1 today:

“I have honor to refer to tariff negots between US and UK which now going on at Torquay. My govt places great importance on success of these negots and is concerned over possibility that present position of Govt of UK at Torquay will make it difficult to achieve successful outcome.

“Our del at Torquay is authorized to make substantial tariff concessions to UK providing comparable concessions recd in return. These concessions wld include number of items, such as wool, textiles, china and earthenware, which wld be of significant value to UK in furthering its dollar export drive, particularly in light of increased emphasis which must be placed upon items of this type as rearmament reduces export potential of engineering industries. These items are of course also ones upon which concessions to UK wld meet most resistance in US. Concessions on these items without adequate reciprocal concessions from UK wld contravene basic principle of tariff reduction program. The tariff concessions now proposed by UK at Torquay not in judgment of my govt adequate in light of concessions which we have offered. We wld not be willing to proceed with an agreement on basis these offers.

“I am sure you will share my view that failure of our two govts reach satis tariff agreement at Torquay wld have serious adverse consequences. It wld strengthen those elements in both UK and US which have consistently opposed cooperation between our two countries to reduce tariff barriers. In my judgment we now at stage in relations between our two countries when any evidence of disagreement between us likely have adverse effects on Anglo-Amer relations out of proportion to those which such a development wld have in normal times. Conversely, any evidence of agreement is more helpful than usual [Page 1288] in strengthening Anglo-Amer solidarity which we all agree is so essential these days. I hope it will be possible for UK to review its position in this matter and make adjustments in its tariff offers which wld make possible conclusion of successful agreement. In view of deadline of Mar 31 which has been set for end of bilateral negots at Torquay it wld be most helpful if this cld be done promptly.”

Sent Dept 4999, rptd info Torquay 143.

  1. Kenneth G. Younger, Minister of State, British Foreign Office.