343. Letter From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Blumenthal) to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for International Affairs (Burnstan)0

Dear Burnie: I have received your memorandum of August 31st including Mr. Foley’s memorandum to you of the 30th relating to the International Tin Agreement.1

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We had a meeting in Mr. Gudeman’s office on September 1st at which we reached complete agreement on further procedure.2 We all felt that it was most advisable to secure authority from the Congress at this session, if possible, to release a maximum of 50,000 tons from the strategic stockpile and to waive the six months waiting requirement for 10,000 tons of this amount. I understand that recommendations to this effect have now gone forward from General Services Administration to the Congress.3 As a result, there has already been a break in the price and the upward trend may now have been reversed.

We agreed that United States representatives should go to London during the week of September 13 to discuss on a confidential basis and without any commitment whatsoever the terms of possible U.S. accession to the Agreement.4 After their return we will have a period of at least two to three months during which the Commerce Department will have further discussions with the tin consuming industry. The State Department is quite willing to be present at any such meetings and to assist in explaining the various factors involved in becoming full-fledged members of the Agreement.

In any case, if matters proceed smoothly, we would not be in a position to recommend accession to the Congress, and to have this recommendation acted upon, until the second quarter of 1962.

There was also general agreement that the present price of tin is too high and that this presents real threats to the long-run prospects of the tin producing industries throughout the world by stimulating research programs directed toward more economical use of tin and the development of substitute materials. For this and other reasons, we agreed that the U.S. should, at the present time, oppose increases in the price range for tin fixed by the Agreement.

Best regards,

Sincerely yours,

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 40, Under Secretary of Commerce Files: FRC 66 A 1971, Tin Agreement and Misc., 1961. Official Use Only.
  2. Reference is to Burnstan’s memorandum to Blumenthal, August 31, enclosing a memorandum from Eugene P. Foley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Domestic Affairs, to Burnstan, August 30. Both memoranda are attached to the source text but not printed. For text of the Second International Tin Agreement, which was signed in London on September 1, 1960, and entered into force provisionally on July 1, 1961, see 403 UNTS 3.
  3. A report of the Gudeman-Blumenthal meeting on tin policy, September 1, is in Department of Commerce, Bureau of International Programs, BIP-848 Report, prepared by Donald Sham, September 2, filed with the source text.
  4. For the General Services Administration announcement of the 50,000-ton disposal plan, September 6, see 26 Federal Register 8425.
  5. In his speech to the special meeting of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council at Punta del Este, Uruguay, on August 7, Secretary of the Treasury Dillon, chairman of the U.S. Delegation, intimated that the United States might be willing to join the International Tin Agreement. (Department of State Bulletin, August 28, 1961, pp. 356-360) Blumenthal asked Burnstan in a letter of August 23 (filed with the source text) whether the Department of Commerce objected to proceeding with this matter. At the September 1 meeting with Blumenthal, Gudeman said that he wanted to contact the industry before further discussions, and he wrote a letter to Roger M. Blough, Chairman of U.S. Steel Corporation, September 6 (filed with the source text), for his views.