133. Notes by the Secretary of the Council on Foreign Economic Policy (Galbreath)0


It was agreed within our GATT delegation that the tariff negotiations over the next nine months1 will be the toughest in which the United States has participated.

The toughest problem anticipated is the negotiation with the Six. There are two phases in that negotiation: first, the level of the common market tariff which, in accordance with the GATT, must be no higher than the average of the individual country tariffs it displaces; and second, providing concessions adequate to meet the 20% cut offered across the board by the Six. The latter think we will be hard pressed to meet their 20% offer.

The agricultural policy and programs of the Six will be particularly difficult from the standpoint of the United States and other agriculturally exporting countries. Thus far there appears to be little to give hope that the Six will go far in opening up its market to outside agriculture. This can be the greatest stumbling block to successful tariff negotiations. In this connection Eric Wyndham-White suggests that it would be helpful if the United States would abandon its blanket waiver for United States agriculture and fall back upon waivers for individual items. Our people privately say they do not need the general waiver for agriculture and that Eric’s suggestion has a great deal of merit. As long as the United States has a general waiver for agriculture, the Six can always point to it as a precedent for meeting their agricultural problem. This question might be a suitable one for interagency policy discussion in the CFEP.

I gather that the underdeveloped countries which are members of the GATT do not see much for them in the tariff negotiations. While they will be there observing, it is doubtful that they will participate in many negotiations. Their prime interest seems to be finding a way to ease their products into Western Europe, and the agricultural policies pursued by the Six will have an important bearing on the interest of the underdeveloped countries. In a sense, the problem of the underdeveloped [Page 274] countries is separate from the tariff negotiations as two committees of the GATT are studying ways and means for increasing trade in agricultural products and other items of interest to those countries.

There continues to be considerable uncertainty on the part of a large number of GATT countries as to the role which the new OECD will have in trade matters. I believe there is less apprehension about this now than there was during the summer months.

Carl Corse, who heads our delegation in Geneva for the tariff negotiations, is well equipped for this job. He is personally acquainted with the key people of most of the delegations and knows how to deal with them. I am not so certain about the makeup of his team for the first phase of the negotiations. It is in a sense largely a new and inexperienced team, somewhat junior to our representation at previous GATT sessions.

Carl will need all the help he can get, both from members of his team in Geneva and from Washington. I know he will have stronger support for the second phase of the negotiations as the TAC plans to move to Geneva to be there on the spot. It remains to be seen whether he will need the assistance of more senior people during the first phase.

The most competent all-around person Carl has is Parker Montgomery,2 who is likely to return to the United States in a few weeks. The loss of Parker would be a serious blow to our Geneva team, and Carl has said to me privately that he hopes a way can be found to keep Parker in Geneva.

Some concern may be expressed in Washington over the selection of Eric Wyndham-White as Chairman of the Tariff Negotiations Conference. I think that we need to defend this choice on the basis that once McKinnon of the Canadian delegation removed himself from consideration, there was no one else of sufficient stature and sufficiently knowledgeable in GATT procedure and tariff negotiations to fill the spot.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, CFEP Chairman Records. No classification marking.
  2. The multilateral tariff conference opened in Geneva on September 1. For text of Randall’s statement at the opening meeting, see Department of State Bulletin, September 19, 1960, pp. 453–456. Randall commented on the GATT negotiations in a September 27 memorandum to Eisenhower. (Eisenhower Library, CFEP Chairman Records, Randall Journals, CFEP, 1960, vol. XIV, September 28 entry)
  3. Special Assistant to Secretary of State Herter.