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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 165

me that he felt that their preliminary studies on trade agreement mat-
ters had now progressed to a point where they were in a position to
send their representatives down to Washington to open informal con-
versations with our Government. Mr. King said that he expected that
they would be prepared to leave by the end of the week, but that Mr.
Robertson would discuss details with us.
  Mr. King was in a more optimistic and talkative mood than I have
seen him for some time. He remarked emphatically that it was his
earnest desire to do everything in his Government's power to facilitate
an agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom.
His Government had, of course, practical difficulties to consider but
he knew that we appreciated this, and if it would be possible to extend
our own trade agreement sufficiently to include certain commodities
of substantial interest he felt sure that he would be able to meet any
criticism that might be levelled at his Government by the Opposition
on the ground of having given up privileges Canada now enjoyed in
the United Kingdom market.
  Mr. King stated that at the same time he thought he understood
our position-namely, that we did not wish to be forced to pay twice
for what we got from the British; to compensate the British for what
they might give us and also to compensate Canada for what they
might give up in the way of preferences in the United Kingdom mar-
ket. For this reason he thought it important that the British should
be made to agree to give up or revise certain of the margins of prefer-
ence they now enjoyed in Canada, and should make their contribution
to the common cause.
  [The rest of the conversation with Mr. Mackenzie King concerned
other matters.]
  Mr. King's visit was followed shortly after by one from Mr. Nor-
man Robertson, of the Department of External Affairs, who told me
that he, Mr. Dana Wilgress, Director of Commercial Intelligence
Service, Department of Trade and Commerce, and Mr. Hector Mc-
Kinnon, Commissioner of Tariff, were planning to leave Ottawa next
Sunday, October 17th, by the "Washingtonian", scheduled to arrive
in Washington at 12:35 p. m. Monday, October 18th. Mr. Robert-
son confirmed what Mr. King had told me, namely, that their pre-
liminary studies had progressed to a point which would enable them
to open informal discussions with us.
  On the subject of the margins of preference enjoyed by the British
in Canada, Mr. Robertson said that from the Legation he was going
over to discuss this question with the British High Commissioner.
He indicated that while the British Government had informed them
that they would be prepared to consider sympathetically any requests
that Canada might make for revisions in these margins of preference

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