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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

Belgium,   pp. 219-237 PDF (7.1 MB)

Page 222

    Memorandunm by Mr. Jacques J. Reinstein of the Division of
                       Trade Agreements
                                 [WASHINGTON,] August 31, 1937.
Conversation: Mr. Walravens, Second Secretary of the Belgian
               Messrs. Reinstein, Wadleigh, de Rycke, and Ross
                 of the Division of Trade Agreements;
               Mr. Clark, of the Division of European Affairs.
  Mr. Walravens called by appointment this morning to secure a
statement of our position with regard to the draft of general provi-
sions for the Belgian trade agreement which was transmitted to the
Belgian Embassy in July of this year.
  At the outset Mr. Walravens was informed that it would be difficult
for us to make any statement on the possibility of our modifying our
view with respect to any particular article without having some indi-
cation as to the points which were troubling the Belgian Foreign
Office. He said that it was not his desire to obtain a statement of
this character at the present time, but that he merely wished to learn
the reasons which had motivated the changes which we had made in
the Belgian draft.
  It was emphasized to Mr. Walravens that we do not regard the
drafting of general provisions as a subject for bargaining in the
sense that we bargain for concessions. A framework for the supple-
mentary agreement already exists in the provisions of the exchange
of notes of February 27, 1935, and the preparation of a text of general
provisions would seem to involve merely the filling in of this frame-
work with somewhat more detailed provisions. The two Govern-
ments are already in agreement on the basic principle of non-discrimi-
natory treatment, which finds expression in the trade agreement and
in the liberal commercial policies which they pursue. The problem
appears to us, therefore, as one primarily of drafting a text which
will conform to the legal requirements and practices of the two
  It was pointed out to Mr. Walravens that the text of our standard
provisions had been given to the Belgian Government prior to the
conclusion of the trade agreement and that the Belgian Government
had not indicated that the type of provisions included in our standard
draft were unacceptable to it.
  We had not felt, in working on the Belgian draft, that the two
Governments were in disagreement as to these principles, and it was,

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