150. Summary Notes of a Meeting of the Delegation’s Steering Committee, Buenos Aires, August 21, 19571

General Economic Agreement—On the basis of a check he made last night Mr. Rubottom expressed the opinion that if we decided to do so, we could assemble enough votes at this time to decide on a resolution as against a treaty. Honduras, for example, does not want a treaty, and Paraguay will go along with us. Mr. Dillon pointed out that no one is urging a treaty, and that Uruguay is the only country that might do so. Ambassador Maura, Mr. Rubottom said, thinks we must make at least a serious effort to get a treaty.

It was pointed out that the press in Buenos Aires and elsewhere (Uruguay) is taking the line that in the absence of a treaty the conference will be a failure. In response to Mr. Dillon’s inquiry, Mr. Leddy said that Brazil’s text does not resolve the basic issues so far as we are concerned.

Mr. Rubottom said that the Cubans have suggested the dividing up of the negotiations among the other committees, and another suggestion has been to form a committee of about seven countries to meet in Washington to negotiate. Mr. Leddy pointed out that the procedural problem of negotiating would exist whether the objective is a treaty or a resolution.

In response to a question from Ambassador Dreier, Mr. Dillon stated that our position is to negotiate in earnest. There is much difference of opinion in Buenos Aires, and in the time available it may be too difficult to reach agreement, not only between us and the Latins but especially among the Latins themselves. Signing a treaty with the reservations would be a waste of time. Therefore, the only possibility may be a resolution.

[Here follows discussion of several procedural matters.]

  1. Source: Department of State, OAS Files: Lot 60 D 665, USDel Meetings. Official Use Only. Drafted by Sanders. The Steering Committee was originally comprised of the following Senior Advisers to the Delegation: Senator Frank F. Church; Special Assistant to the President Gabriel Hauge; Assistant Secretary of Commerce Henry Kearns; Rafael Picó Secretary of the Treasury, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; and Samuel C. Waugh, President and Chairman, Export-Import Bank of Washington. Also included on the Committee were Messrs. Rollin S. Atwood, Jack C. Corbett, John M. Leddy, Clarence W. Nichols, Richard I. Phillips, Public Affairs Officer, ARA; and George H. Willis, Director, Office of International Finance, Department of the Treasury. Rubottom and Sanders regularly attended the meetings; Sanders normally drafted the summary notes.