Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Waugh) to the Secretary of State1

official use only
  • Subject:
  • Cabinet interest in tariff negotiations involving Japan


In reply to an informal inquiry by Dr. Hauge, we have indicated that at the next cabinet meeting you may desire to make a brief presentation on the important national interest considerations involved in the tariff negotiations to expand Japan’s trade. Following are the points we believe should be emphasized:

As the President and the cabinet have previously concluded, an expansion of Japan’s trading opportunities with free-world countries is essential to our basic security interests, and is the only alternative to continuing economic aid at the expense of U.S. taxpayers or the risk that Japan will drift toward the Soviet bloc.
In keeping with the above objective, the United States has encouraged other countries to participate with us in helping to provide expanded trade opportunities for Japan. The tariff negotiations for this purpose will begin at Geneva in February 1955. We are hopeful that as many as twenty countries will participate in the negotiations, all within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
Preparations for the tariff negotiations have been set in motion by the interdepartmental trade agreements organization. This organization embraces the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Interior, Labor, State and Treasury, the FOA and the Tariff Commission, but final decision is made by the President as to commodities on which tariff negotiations are to be held.
The strengthening of the Japanese economy is not only imperative for our national security but is also consistent with our best economic interests. The recent publication of items proposed for tariff negotiations will undoubtedly result in strong protests from various groups. These protests, however, must be balanced against the over-all national interests, both immediate and long term.
We hope that all members of the Cabinet will actively support this project to which the President has assigned high priority and which is so important to the over-all interests of the United States.


That you bring the above considerations to the attention of the cabinet at its next meeting.2

  1. Assistant Secretary Waugh returned to the United States from Geneva on Nov. 14, 1954.
  2. Regarding the discussion of tariff negotiations with Japan at the Cabinet meeting of Nov. 19, 1954, see footnote 2 to the Minutes of the Cabinet meeting of Nov. 5, 1954, printed in volume xiv.