229. Telegram From the Mission in Geneva to the Department of State 1

972. For Seidman, White House. Subject: TNC Conclusions on Agriculture. Ref: State 032200.2

Summary. U.S. succeeded in TNC in obtaining its major objectives:
Launching of barganing stage of MTN so that negotiations on concrete issues can begin;
Avoiding conclusion in TNC that requires “exclusive” negotiations of agricultural issues in an agricultural group;
Options concerning establishment of grains or other subgroups under agricultural group left open.
Final compromise procedure outlined Geneva 9023 adopted. U.S. preserved position on breadth of coverage of tariff and non tariff groups. We assume that EC will continue to seek to move agricultural issues of importance to EC to agricultural groups. Further discussion of the jurisdictional issue will probably occur in context of working parties which begin to meet in March, but deadlock in TNC limelight was avoided.
In keeping with reftel, U.S. preserved its position and retained ability to resist EC should organizational issue be raised again. Final statements of Mexicans, Indians and other delegations suggest we will not be alone on this issue in future. End summary.
Malmgren agreed midafternoon Wednesday with EC on agricultural paragraph in TNC Chairman Long’s summary on basis telcon with Washington prior receipt reftel, and in furtherance of U.S. position underlying reftel.
After receipt reftel (8:00 a.m. Thursday, February 13) U.S. (Wolff, Glitman, Goodman, Konig, Kelly) met with EC (Hijzen, Abbott, Pizzuti) prior to final TNC session to reiterate our understanding of compromise reached with EC Wednesday, February 12. Hijzen stated EC member states could not subscribe to all our points, particularly in the matter [manner?] in which they were stated in reftel. However Hijzen [Page 790] acknowledged U.S. right to its interpretation on basis of anticipated summation by TNC Chairman. Hijzen said that if U.S. were to make statement at TNC with specificity contained reftel, EC would be compelled to make sharp counter statement that would create public confrontation and possible breakdown of MTN before it really began.
On the other hand, Hijzen did not challenge right of U.S. and others to negotiate on agricultural tariffs and NTBs in tariffs and NTB groups. He further acknowledged that in cases where agricultural group might concern itself with agricultural issues being considered in tariff and nontariff groups, it could act in a consultative role and need not be a negotiating forum. He also did not exclude the possibility of joint tariff or NTB and agriculture working parties.
Hijzen was in sum (a) prepared to acknowledge above to us personally, (b) prepared in a nonconfrontational way to agree to disagree publicly where ambiguities existed, and (c) prepared to accept fact that both parties could interpret Chairman’s summation in a manner not prejudicing each party’s own position. Upshot was that U.S. and EC agreed to make concluding statements contained septel4 in effect preserving position in areas of ambiguity which might arise while agreeing to let negotiations begin without provoking major confrontation at outset.
Next series of group meetings will begin to set precedents which will determine actual functioning of MTN structure. In the meetings, EC will very likely try to strengthen their own bargaining position via procedural maneuvers. Order in which groups are scheduled to meet (done at U.S. request) should help us in this regard.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Confidential. Repeated to Bern, Bonn, Brasilia, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Canberra, Copenhagen, Dublin, The Hague, London, Luxembourg, Mexico City, New Delhi, Ottawa, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Tokyo, Wellington, USEC Brussels, and USOECD Paris.
  2. Document 228.
  3. Document 227.
  4. Telegram 1016 from the Mission in Geneva, February 14. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)