394.31/3–2351: Telegram

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


5074. Fol are important paras of note from Fon Off1 in reply to our note reported Embtel 4999:

“His Majesty’s Government cannot share view that concessions which their del at Torquay has been authorized to offer, and has offered, are not substantial having regard to difficult period through which UK has been passing in these post war years and having regard to losses of preference in certain Commonwealth markets which UK exports must suffer as a result of some of the other Torquay negots.

“Moreover, it will be within knowledge of US that in certain field other Commonwealth countries have rights in respect of tariff margins of preference which cannot be set aside and are matters in which the govts of those countries themselves must decide whether or not it is possible for them to contemplate diminution of their preferred position. US would, I feel sure, not suggest that such rights can be ignored or that tariff concessions involving an impairment of those rights can be obtained, whether under gen agrmt on tariffs and trade or in any other context, except as part of negotiated agrmts which make for genuine mutual advantage. Those elements in world, which might take encouragement from evidences of disagrmt between this country and US, wld take at least as great encouragement from any evidences of disharmony which tariff arrangements made otherwise than by negotiation might provoke between members of Commonwealth.

“HMG have noted with pleasure that some offers of tariff concessions made on behalf of US by their del at Torquay wld be valuable as [Page 1296] contribution to expansion of UK exports to the dollar market. Insofar as the expansions of UK trade must surely be in the interests of both countries alike, they wld hope that the maximum number of valuable concessions wld be granted by the US and any agrmt which was not of significance in furthering the UK dollar export drive wld be of little value to HMG, nor indeed, old they defend such an agrmt in Parliament. HMG note and endorse ref which Your Excellency makes to increased emphasis that must be placed on certain items, as rearmament in common interest reduces export potential of engineering industries of this country.

“I trust that Your Excellency will convey to US Govt our earnest desire that they will find it possible to take all these factors into account in re-examining relative value of offers which have been made on each side at Torquay. It is our belief that, if US Govt were to undertake such re-examination, an agrmt cld be made which our two govts wld be able to assure public opinion was in long term interests of both countries.”

Sent Department 5074, repeated info Torquay 147.

  1. The complete text was transmitted in London despatch 4549, March 27, not printed (394.31/3–2751).