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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

Canada,   pp. 160-199 PDF (14.9 MB)

Page 162

I did not fail to bring your letter immediately to the attention of the
appropriate authorities of my Government, who have given it careful
  "The United States and Canada share in common the view that the
reduction of excessive trade barriers is essential to the restoration of
general prosperity and the preservation of world peace. They also
share the view that the need for action in this direction is urgent. It
is higIlly important, moreover, that they cooperate closely in promot-
ing these ends, and my Government therefore welcomes your sugges-
tion for consultation between them.
  "My Government had hoped that even before the present time the
cumulative effect of a world-wide trade agreement program, partici-
pated in by most of the leading trading countries of the world, would
be such that it would be possible to conclude a more comprehensive
trade agreement between the United States and Canada. The in-
ability thus far, however, of the American Government to conclude
more agreements in which the preponderance of reductions on the part
of the United States would be on industrial products and the majority
of reductions obtained for American products from the other country
would be on primary products has tended to create unusual difficul-
ties in the way of further negotiations at this time with countries like
Canada, where, it is normally to be expected, a preponderance of the
concessions expected of the United States would be on primary prod-
ucts. These difficulties have not yet been overcome.
  "Since the broad objectives of our Governments are the same, my
Government feels that full and free consultation between them cannot
help but serve a useful purpose. It, therefore, would welcome in-
formal and confidential discussions between American and Canadian
officials, without prior commitment on the part of either Government,
and I am authorized to discuss the necessary arrangements for such
conversations to take place immediately."
  While normally we would be prepared to have such informal and
confidential conversations with the Canadian officials take place either
in Washington or Ottawa, it is believed that there would be less likeli-
hood of misleading publicity if the conversations should take place in
Washington. It is hoped that Doctor Skelton, the Under Secretary
of State for External Affairs, and Mr. Norman Robertson, of the
Department of External Affairs, will be designated by the Canadian
Government to take part in these conversations, rather than technical
experts prepared to discuss individual commodities, because of our
view that the conversations must necessarily be of a very general
  I am somewhat concerned at some of the Prime Minister's remarks
to you in your conversation with him on August 7.5 I feel that he
does not understand fully our situation and it is my hope that the
proposed informal and confidential conversations between officials
of the two Governments will afford an opportunity for a full and
frank exchange of views, which should dispel any existing misunder-
  "Memorandum of conversation not printed.

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