212. Memorandum of Conversation0

SUBJECT

  • US Concern at the Rejection of the US Agricultural Package by the EEC Representatives at GATT XXIV:6 Negotiations

PARTICIPANTS

  • Mr. George W. Ball, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs
  • Mr. Louis Scheyven, Ambassador of Belgium
  • Mr. Willy van Cauwenberg, Commercial Minister
  • Mr. Roger Coustry, Agricultural Attache
  • Mr. Leonard Weiss, OT
  • Mr. Paul A. London, RA

Mr. Ball called in the Ambassador of Belgium, Mr. Scheyven, on April 28, to present him with a note expressing United States concern at the rejection by the EEC negotiators at Geneva of the US agricultural package.1 Mr. Ball wished to discuss with the Ambassador the important problems that could result should the EEC Commission continue to maintain such a posture. Mr. Ball explained that we were delivering the aide-memoire to the Ambassador of Belgium because we understood [Page 463]that Mr. Spaak would be chairman of the EEC Council of Ministers meeting on May 2. We were arranging through our posts in the other five member countries and our Brussels Mission to the EEC to communicate the aide-memoire to the other Council members.

Mr. Ball explained that our agricultural package had been developed only after careful consultation at a high level with the Department of Agriculture. We had hoped that the package would permit the successful conclusion of the XXIV:6 negotiations2 in Geneva, or at least that it would be possible to go forward on the basis of the package into the Dillon Round3 on the assumption that differences in the agricultural field would be worked out while the Dillon Round was in progress. Mr. Ball recognized that the Commission wished to keep some flexibility in order to facilitate the development of a common agricultural policy, but he said that the Commission’s attitude in rejecting the US proposals without apparently giving them serious consideration jeopardized the whole structure of the GATT.

Mr. Ball emphasized the importance of the Dillon Round to the United States and particularly to the continuation of our liberal trade policies. He noted that should difficulties in the agricultural area at this time lead to a failure to use our negotiating powers in a new round of negotiations, protectionist pressures in the United States will be strengthened and this would endanger the continuance of our liberal trade policies and the extension of the Reciprocal Trade Act, which comes up for renewal in Congress next year. Mr. Ball said that he could not emphasize too strongly the importance to us of an outcome in the XXIV:6 negotiations that would permit us to go forward into the Dillon Round. In closing Mr. Ball said again that he hoped Mr. Spaak and the Council of Ministers would take note at the May 2 meeting of the great importance the United States attached to a change in the Commission’s stand on our agricultural package.

Ambassador Scheyven said that he did recognize the seriousness of our concern with this problem and undertook to communicate our aide-memoire to the Belgian Chairman of the May 2 Council Meeting.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 394.41/4-2861. Official Use Only. Drafted by Paul A. London.
  2. For text of the April 28 note, see the Supplement.
  3. Article XXIV, paragraph 6 of the GATT provides that Contracting Parties can renegotiate external tariff rates to compensate for increases or decreases in their bound rates of duty often caused by the imposition of a single, common unified rate. (55 UNTS 272)
  4. Named after Secretary of the Treasury C. Douglas Dillon. The Dillon Round was held in Geneva May 29, 1961-July 16, 1962.