ECA Message Files, FRC Accession 53A278: Telegram

The Acting Administrator of the Economic Cooperation Administration (Bissell) to the Office of the Special Representative in Europe, at Paris 1


Subject: Belgian Restrictions

Reference: (1) Toeca 470, rptd Paris Torep 482;2
(2) Tagg 75 rptd Paris 88, Brussels 13, Ottawa 2;
(3) Tagg 81

Torep 7676. 1. In view of (a) report that Belgs making use in Geneva alleged OSR approval their new policies (b) probability this is intended to develop split in US Govt, (c) danger that Belg will try to make repeated use of any such split to strengthen their hand in negotiating terms EPU settlement, concur in suggestion reftel 23 that OSR put into writing for Belgs or OEEC as appropriate position it has taken in EPU MB and OEEC on dollar import restrictions, assuming position remains as indicated in Torep [ Repto ] 45414 Sept [Page 1494]12 (rptd Brussels as 310) that OEEC has made no recommendation as to specific measures to be taken by Belg and has passed no judgment on measures announced by Belg. State feels this needed by GATT del within 3 days.

2. Assume such statement wld also (a) confirm that any remarks made by OSR observers in OEEC were technical and informal and directed to possible effectiveness from EPU point of view alone of measures in question (b) state that US Govt will deal with aspects touching GATT, IMF or other intl agreements only under procedures established by these agreements, (c) state that OSR did not intend to give advance indication of attitude US Govt might take if Belg measures should in future be reviewed under these procedures.

3. Of Belg measures, restrictions on dollar imports may prove the most embarrassing to US. Since we expect they will have little effect on EPU surplus Belgs may consider this measure especially likely to draw US protest. While anxious not to protest in a way which wld imply US responsibility for continued Belg surpluses in EPU, recommend that you try to get OEEC to modify the language of MB report cited in reftel 3.5 This could be done in either or both of the following ways: (a) by addition of such a phrase as “so far as can be reconciled with intl obligations of Belgium”; (b) by changing language to negative admonition to refrain from dollar import restrictions which would not have important effect in adjusting Belg EPU position, thus avoiding language which directly calls for strong dollar restrictions.

Rptd info AmEmbassy Brussels Ecato 550.

  1. Cleared in substance with Leonard Weiss, Assistant Chief, Commercial Policy Staff, Department of State.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Tagg 75.
  4. See the second footnote 1. p. 1480.
  5. Tagg 81.