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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1947. General; The United Nations

United States interest in international economic collaboration for the expansion of world trade and employment: negotiations at Geneva leading to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and to the convening of the Havana conference,   pp. 909-1025 PDF (44.4 MB)

Page 957

560.AL/6-2147: Telegram
    The Coneul at Geneva (Troutmnan) to the Secretary of State
SECRET                            GENEVA, June 21, 1947-10 a. m.
  546. For Acheson and Nitze from Wilcox. Have just received fol-
lowing letter from J. R. C. Helmore acting head UKDel ITO
  "On behalf of the UKDel I wish to invite attention to the provisions
of a bill ('S 814) which has been approved by Congress and at present
waits Presidential sanction. According to the text of the introduction
of the Senate House conference report which was made in the House
of Representatives on 16 June the bill stipulates inter alia that 'an
amendment shall be made to Section 22 of the Agricultural Adjust-
ment Act of 1933 in such a way as to provide in certain circumstances
for the imposition of import fees or quantitative limitations on wool
entering the US.
  As the USDel is well aware wool is a key commodity in the negotia-
tions now in progress for the reduction of tariffs under mutually ad-
vantageous agreements as part of the plan for an international trade
organization. The bill would apparently make it impossible for the
USDel to reduce the barriers affecting one of the principal items of
trade between the USA and the countries of the British Common-
wealth. Its enactment would, therefore, shake confidence in the ability
of the US Govt to give effect to the policy of trade barriers reduction
through a series of mutually advantageous agreements.
  Consequently, His Majesty's Govt in the UK as joint sponsors of
the proposals relating to the establishment of an international trade
organization, feel it their duty to point out to the US Govt that the
wool bill, if it were allowed to become law as it stands at present, would
constitute a most serious setback to all the efforts made during the past
several years towards the removal of trade barriers from the Atlantic
Charter to the present Conference at Geneva and would endanger not
only the tariff negotiations but also the negotiations in regard to the
Charter for an International Trade Organization.
  For. these reasons I must inform you that His Majesty's Govt ex-
press the earnest hope that this bill will not become law".
                         Editorial Note
  On June 26, President Truman vetoed the wool bill and stated: "The
enactment of a law providing for additional barriers to the importa-
tion of wool at the very moment when this Government is taking the
leading part in a United Nations Conference at Geneva called for the
purpose of reducing trade barriers and of drafting a Charter for an
International Trade Organization, in an effort to restore the world
to economic peace, would be a tragic mistake. It would be a blow to
our leadership in world affairs. It would be interpreted around the

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