205. Telegram From the Mission in Geneva to the Department of State1

TAGG 1891. For Governor Herter from Blumenthal. Cereals meeting opened at 10 a.m. today. Wyndham White, Chairman, recalled group previously had agreed this session would mark opening of actual negotiations. Then invited delegates views as how proceed. US delegate spoke first. After recalling objectives established by GATT Ministers, presented US recommendations regarding broad treatment to be accorded each of elements which group at previous sessions had identified for consideration. Presented reasons why negotiations must focus on domestic agricultural policies and indicated proposal for measuring and binding levels of farm income support might have useful application. Emphasized, however, negotiations must not stop at this but must include also negotiations reductions in levels of protection. Then proceeded to explain why in view of need to reconcile trade objectives with domestic agricultural policies specific access undertakings would be required on part of importers. Copies of US paper were then distributed to delegates followed by general statements welcoming US initiative by exporting countries, UK and Japan. Community spokesman (Meyer-Burckhardt) noted divergency of view between US proposal and Community’s [Page 568] approach but asked for time to study US proposal before commenting and confronting with Community’s proposals. Meeting then adjourned until 10 a.m. Wednesday.

UK delegate indicated he would be prepared to present to group details new UK cereals arrangement at afternoon session Wednesday. Following these presentations, we shall seek cooperation of all participants for organizing agenda substantially around US proposals. Thursday and Friday will be devoted to meeting of agriculture committee. Wyndham White proposed resume meeting cereals group next week but EEC reserved position in view meetings agriculture ministers. Decision postponed until Wednesday. WW also proposed cereals groups should reconvene immediately following Easter recess.

Exporters caucus March 16 produced near consensus on US paper with familiar differing emphasis (Australia more favorable to price increases, Canada less favorable to food aid). Some minor revisions, not changing substances, made in US submission at exporters suggestion. Text main substantive elements US submission sent in following cable.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, INCO–GRAINS GATT. Limited Official Use. Repeated to Bonn, Brussels for USEC, The Hague, Luxembourg for USEC, Paris for USRO, Rome, London, Buenos Aires, Canberra, Ottawa, and Tokyo. Passed to the White House for Herter at 3 a.m. on March 18.