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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

Australia,   pp. 136-159 PDF (9.0 MB)

Page 147

sary before discussions for any trade agreement could be initiated for
the foreign nation concerned voluntarily to grant to the United States
equality of treatment under whatever system of treatment of foreign
trade might be in force in that country. Mr. Casey then asked whether
a change-over from a system of licensing of imports to a revision of
the tariff upward would be acceptable to this Government. He was
informed that the system of treatment accorded by any other Govern-
ment was a matter for that Government to decide, but our concern
in the matter was that American trade be placed on equality with that
of any other nation; if a licensing system, that licenses for American
imports be granted as freely as to other countries and that no discrim-
inatory or arbitrary withholding of licenses for the importation of
American products be applied. Mr. Welles further remarked that if
a change-over from the import licensing system to a higher range of
tariffs were to be considered, we would naturally expect that the tariff
rates would not be raised in excess of the range absolutely needed for
internal considerations, and that the rates would not be padded for
the purpose of having them negotiated downward by means of a trade
  With regard to Mr. Casey's reference to compensation by the United
States for Australian agreement to reduction of differentials now
favoring Australian products, Mr. Welles said that it would not be
possible for us to enter into discussions of a trade agreement with
the Australian Government until we had reached a satisfactory basis
of negotiation for a trade agreement with the United Kingdom. Mr.
Welles asked whether the British Government had informed the Aus-
tralian delegation as to the general lines of the possibilities of a trade
agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States. Mr.
Casey said that this matter, while it had not been the subject of official
discussions between the delegates and the British Government, had
come up in an informal and informatory manner in general talks with
the British Board of Trade. Mr. Casey went on to say that he was
very anxious that some exploratory conversations-be carried on be-
tween the Australian Government and the American Government with
regard to the possibilities of a trade agreement between the two coun-
tries in order that the Australian Government might be in a better
position to reconsider its situation as far as concerned the United
Kingdom-Australian trade position. Mr. Welles explained that we
were precluded from carrying on any discussions having to do with
trade agreements which might be considered negotiations, as under
the law there must be previous public announcement before negotia-
tion for trade agreements can be initiated. Mr. Welles did say, how-
ever, that the moment we had arrived at a point where we could
decide there was a reasonable basis for the negotiation of a trade agree-

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