37. Memorandum of Conversation1
- Economic and Financial Agreement; Trade; Consular Convention and Consulates; Cultural Exchanges
- His Excellency Dr. Karel Duda, Czechoslovak Ambassador
- Mr. Richard H. Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs
Ambassador Duda telephoned me last week to invite me to lunch today at 1:00 o’clock at Sans Souci restaurant. This was his first invitation to me for a t#te-a-t#te lunch and from the tenor of his remarks, I judged he was not acting on instructions but only on his personal initiative. He mentioned no other substantive matters than bilateral issues between Czechoslovakia and the United States.
Economic and Financial Agreement
He asked my opinion when we might move ahead to complete the Economic and Financial Agreement. I said, as he knew, most questions had been settled, but there remained the technical question of the transfer of the gold. The French had given their assent but the British had not as yet, though we had asked them to do so. He professed not to know about the British position and asserted that the Czechs had always considered this a bilateral matter. I pointed out that the question of the gold required the assent of the Tripartite Commission.2
Ambassador Duda asked my personal opinion about the prospects of MFN for Czechoslovakia over the long run, saying he realized it was not possible in an election year. I gave him the standard line. He remarked that Czech trade with the United States had grown in recent years but that only 4% of Czech imports from the United States was [Page 147] heavy machinery. He said they were interested in increasing their purchases of machinery, particularly in the chemical field and were likewise interested in stimulating exports of machinery to the United States. He said they had been thinking of sending a delegation of specialists in machinery to the United States for the purpose of exploring possibilities. He did not pursue the subject and I gave him no encouragement.
Ambassador Duda referred to the Czechoslovak approach to the Department in 1960–61 in regard to opening consulates in the United States and asked what I thought of the prospect. I said I remembered my conversation with former Ambassador Ruzek on this and we had proposed first to negotiate a consular convention.3 After some inconclusive discussion, I told Ambassador Duda it was not “excluded” that we could discuss simultaneously opening of consulates and a consular convention. He emphasized he had no instructions to speak on this matter.
Ambassador Duda mentioned the desirability of increasing exchanges in the cultural field but presented no concrete ideas. It is possible he may ask to see Mr. Siscoe when he returns from Moscow.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 17 CZECH–US. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Davis on February 25.↩
- The Tripartite Commission of the United States, United Kingdom, and France was created at the end of World War II to oversee the restoration of property looted from occupied nations by the Germans.↩
- Negotiations led to a December 1961 initialing of a note ad referendum. The United States subsequently informed Czechoslovakia that after further review of the draft text of the agreement it would not proceed to signature. (Beam, Multiple Exposure, pp. 178–180)↩