221. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations (Hays) to Senator Edmund S. Muskie0

Dear Senator Muskie: Thank you for your letter of June 19 to Under Secretary Ball,1 concerning the State Department’s efforts to organize a multilateral agreement on textile trade. Mr. Ball greatly appreciates your understanding of the foreign policy implications of the manner in which the United States decides to handle its problem of low-cost textile imports.

Mr. Ball and those working with him on the textile problem were much encouraged by the preparatory meeting last week (June 21-23) with representatives of other major textile importing countries. They found that the nations of the European Economic Community recognized that the time has come for them to relax their trade restrictions against imports from low-cost countries. This recognition is a basic prerequisite to our efforts to induce the low-cost countries to exercise some restraint so as to avoid disruption in import markets. There was also a recognition that the advanced nations have a common responsibility for providing growing opportunities for trade by the developing countries in a reasonable and orderly manner.

At the conclusion of the conference, the participants joined in proposing an early meeting of textile importing and exporting countries [Page 472]directed toward some form of international action which would, in the agreed language of the meeting, (a) “significantly increase access to markets which are at present subject to import restrictions”, (b) “maintain orderly access to markets where restrictions are not at present maintained”, and (c) “secure from exporting countries a measure of restraint in their export policy so as to avoid disruptive effects in import markets”. Although the exact dates are not yet set, we expect the meeting to be convened in the last part of July.

The staff which is engaged in preparations for the meeting is reviewing various possible formulas for achieving the orderly development of trade and will examine S. 1735 with interest in this connection.

The Department is cognizant of the hardship existing in textile communities in Maine. The situation of such communities is a most important element underlying its efforts to bring about more orderly textile marketing conditions and a measure of restraint on the part of low-cost exporting nations. Either Mr. Ball or Mr. Warren Christopher, who has been appointed to represent the United States in the international meeting and is in charge of preparations for it, will be happy to meet with you or to supply any further information on the subject which you may wish.

Sincerely yours,

Brooks Hays2
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 411.006/6-1961. No classification marking. Drafted by Virginia H. McClung (E/OR/CSD) on June 29 and cleared by Warren M. Christopher (B) and Florence K. Kirlin (H).
  2. In this letter, Senator MUSKIE, disappointed by recent U.S. negotiations to resolve problems in the textile industry, urged Ball to press for a significant roll-back in imports of cotton textiles. MUSKIE believed that “there may not soon be another opportunity comparable to this for securing substantial relief for the domestic textile industry.” (Ibid.)
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.