213. Editorial Note

On May 2, 1961, President Kennedy announced a 7-point program to help the U.S. textile industry. He asked the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Treasury, and State, the Small Business Administration, and Congress to carry out specific tasks: to promote an expended program of research, tax and investment incentives, financial aid for plant modernization; to correct domestic cotton pricing system to help U.S. textile producers; to pass legislation providing assistance to industries hurt by increased imports; to explore escape-clause provision for 12 textile products; and to convene a multilateral conference of textile countries to expand trade. For text of Kennedy’s statement, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, pages 345-346.

These proposals were discussed in circular telegram 1707, April 29, to the Embassies in Paris and Brussels and to representatives in Geneva attending the GATT negotiations. This lengthy telegram stated, among other things, that “in the past several months considerable public attention has focused on the domestic textile situation, which involves wide range of problems resulting from rapid technological change, consumer preference shifts, and increasing international competition.” It went on to explain that the administration recognized the serious problems facing the U.S. textile industry, but that to impose unilateral import quotas and other controls on foreign companies, advocated by the U.S. textile industry, could lead to “serious economic, political, and even security problems.” Therefore, the preferred policy would promote “bilateral and multilateral international cooperation.” (Department of State, Central Files, 411.006/4-2961)