Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Kalijarvi)



  • Proposed Duty Reduction on Beef Imports
  • Participants: Mr. Morse—Under Secretary of Agriculture
  • Mr. CabotARA
  • Mr. KalijarviE

Mr. Cabot and Mr. Kalijarvi told Mr. Morse of the meeting with General Smith on December 10,1 and made clear the understanding and sympathy with which the Department of State regarded the problem of the Department of Agriculture with respect to the Uruguayan beef situation.

Mr. Cabot voiced concern that the Uruguayans be handled in this matter in such a way as not to produce unfavorable repercussions in the forthcoming Caracas Conference.2 He stated that favorable Uruguayan consideration of the difficulty in which the United States now finds itself with respect to the contemplated proclamation on December 16 was colored by their anger over the countervailing duties that had been imposed by the United States on Uruguayan wool tops. [Page 1574] Mr. Morse stated that the amounts of beef involved were relatively small, but the problem was great in terms of its political significance. Mr. Kalijarvi pointed out that it was the feeling of the Department of State that the United States was morally and legally obligated to issue the proclamation on December 16, but that there were considerations of national interest that perhaps transcended the moral and legal factors. In the light of this, the following possibilities were discussed.

Withholding of the proclamation pending further study, such withholding to be done with the concurrence of the Uruguayans. (In this connection, Mr. Morse suggested the possibility of making the proclamation on December 16 as required, but omitting therefrom the meat items. He was informed that it was the view of the Department of State that such a proclamation would merely highlight the items in controversy and that it would be preferable to withhold the proclamation on the entire list.)
Concessions on wool or wool tops or some other item which might be used in negotiation with the Uruguayans on this matter.

It was emphasized that the Department of Agriculture should undertake not to institute any Section 22 proceedings3 with respect to beef if an arrangement were entered into with the Uruguayans along the lines indicated above.

Mr. Cabot stated he did not believe it wise to enter into discussions with the Uruguayans until the Department of Agriculture had canvassed what it was prepared to concede on items of interest to Uruguay.

The meeting closed with the undertaking by Mr. Morse to take the problem back to the Department of Agriculture for further consideration along the lines discussed.

  1. See the memorandum, supra.
  2. Reference is to the Tenth Inter-American Conference, held in Caracas, Mar. 1–28, 1954; for documentation on the conference, see pp. 264 ff.
  3. Reference is to the provision in the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, providing that the President may impose import fees or quotas in order to prevent imports from materially interfering with the domestic agricultural program.