394.31/8–2851: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions 1


199. Depcirtel 94, July 31, 1951.2 Re US proposal terminate GATT relations with Czechoslovakia.

1. Request Emb approach Govt to which accredited at high level with view impressing on appropriate officials importance US attaches to successful outcome this issue at Geneva.

2. At same time inform such officials that USDel at Geneva mtg will be headed by Asst Secy Thorp,3 who will present US case re Czech. Express hope that representation accredited Govt will be at similar level for this issue. Also state US hopeful issue can be disposed of during first ten days of session.

3. Also inform Govt that US has been considering precise form of action which it will propose to CPs and is now considering proposing CP decision under Art XXV(5) (a) along fol lines:4

  • “Considering that the application of the provisions of the GATT between particular pairs of countries may under certain circumstances be impracticable because of the strained state of relations between the two countries;
  • “Considering that the relations between the US and Czech are such that the application of the provisions of the Agreement between those two Contracting Parties may no longer be practicable; and
  • “Considering that the Government of the US has requested the Contracting Parties to suspend the application of the Gen Agreement between the US and Czech;
  • “The Contracting Parties, pursuant to para 5(a) of Art XXV of the Gen Agreement,
  • “(Alternate A) decide that the operation of the Gen Agreement is suspended between the US and Czech.
  • “(Alternate B) decide that either the US or Czech may suspend the operation of the Gen Agreement between the two countries with the same effect as if para 1 of Art XXXV of the Gen Agreement had been invoked in accordance with the conditions therein.”

4. US also considering whether use word “terminate” in place of “suspend” throughout doc.

5. Note that two alternatives are contained in text above. US will propose alternative which other CPs feel most desirable.

[Page 1393]

6. You may wish point out that approach suggested above seeks to avoid judgment on merits of dispute between US and Czech. Moreover, under alternative B, action simply gives US and Czech option of terminating agreement between them, rather than bringing about termination directly.

7. Assume, of course, Emb will modify approach above if necessary to take account previous approach to Govt or special local circumstances.

8. Report gen reaction accredited Govt as well as preferences re alternative proposals above.5

  1. Sent to 29 missions accredited to government participants in GATT. Repeated to Geneva in telegram 174, August 28, 8 p. m., for the confidential information of the ICITO Executive Secretary, Wyndham White (394.31/8–2851). On August 30 repeated to the Embassy in Czechoslovakia for information only (394.31/ 8–3051).
  2. See footnote 5, p. 1387.
  3. The Sixth Session of the GATT CP’s was to convene in Geneva on September 17. Thorp was Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs.
  4. This decision was based on a paper dated August 24 submitted to the Inter departmental Committee on Trade Agreements (TAC), not printed (GATT Files, Lot 66 D 209, Box 454, “Position Papers GATT VI”).
  5. Selected documentation on the responses received is printed here. The complete collection is located in file 394.31.