209. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate in Geneva0

1508. For ResDelGATT. Dept considering possibility multilateral consideration in GATT framework of problems of trade in cotton textiles and apparel.

[Page 458]

Problems U.S. industry now being urgently considered by President’s Advisory Cte on Textiles.1 U.S. industry draws attention approximate doubling of total imports cloth, apparel and other textile products (on yardage basis) last two years and seeks across-the-board import quotas by country and by product as only effective means coping with low-wage imports without undue prejudice interests traditional suppliers. Industry problems being analyzed here, and various approaches being explored.

Rapid rise certain U.S. cotton textile imports seems attributable in part Western European trade barriers.

Restrictions cotton textile exports LDCs have been discussed Cte III. Advantages this forum include liberal terms reference and support of Cte work by LDCs.

WP Market Disruption also discussed these restrictions, but in context efforts define “market disruption” and find multilateral solution problems caused by abrupt increases in imports. LDCs (India and Pakistan) appeared reluctant recognize or deal with problems in this Cte, fearing further restrictions; EEC (France) also not forthcoming, apparently because of unwillingness liberalize toward Hong Kong, Japan and others.

Textile trade problems also related Japan Art XXXV question, now about to come before special WP.

Under circumstances, ResDel requested ask Wyndham White’s views regarding: (1) progress made to date on GATT-ILO study of textile industry and earliest date by which Market Disruption Cte might issue textile portion its report on social, economic and commercial factors underlying market disruption problems and (2) most appropriate framework for early multilateral consideration in GATT of problems world trade in textiles and apparel. On latter point, our preliminary thought is that if there is to be GATT meeting this matter, most appropriate framework would be joint meeting Committee III and Committee on Avoidance of Market Disruption. Emphasize to Wyndham White that no U.S. position reached and that his views being sought at this stage so that they may be taken into account in arriving at U.S. position.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 394.41/3-2261. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Herbert F. Propps (E/OT/CPT) on March 22; cleared by Edelen M. Fogarty (E/CSD), Joseph E. Jacques (E/OR), Frank P. Butler (E/OT/CPT), Leonard Weiss (E/OT), and Thelma E. Vettel (FE); and approved by Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Martin. Repeated to Karachi, London, New Delhi, Ottawa, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
  2. On February 16, President Kennedy appointed several members of his Cabinet to a committee to study problems in the U.S. textile industry and to offer solutions to these problems. Members included the Secretaries of the Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture, and Labor, and Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Ball. (Current Economic Documents, Issue No. 618, February 2, 1961, pp. 1-4; Washington National Records Center, E/CBA/REP Files: FRC 72 A 6248, Current Economic Developments)