360. Editorial Note

The U.N. Coffee Conference, consisting of representatives of 56 countries (including the United States), met in New York July-September 1962, and formulated the Coffee Agreement, 1962 (14 UST 1911). The objective of the agreement was to assure that coffee prices in general did not decline below the 1962 level. The agreement relied on an export quota system negotiated among coffee-exporting countries to achieve price stability with quarterly adjustments according to changes in consumption estimates. W. Michael Blumenthal signed for the United States. The agreement entered into force on December 27, 1963.

The Department of State instructed Embassies in coffee-exporting countries to emphasize that the U.S. delegation “did not intercede in quota negotiations for any country.” Since U.S. Department of Agriculture figures were used as a basis for negotiation, the Department of State wanted to forestall the possibility that some countries might blame the [Page 808] United States for their failure to secure an adequate quota on grounds of an incorrect estimate. The agreement principally obliged coffee-importing countries like the United States to restrict imports from nonparticipants to the average quantity imported during the 3-year base period to prevent nonparticipants from sharing increases in consumption. Voting in the Council, situated in London, was based on quantity of exports and imports, giving the United States and Brazil a virtual veto on major Council decisions. (Circular telegram 342 to 29 Embassies and USUN, August 27; Department of State, Central Files, 398.2333/8-2762)