No. 239 NAI DFA 7/73

Letter from John V. Fahy (for Joseph P. Walshe) to John Leydon (Dublin)

Dublin, 21 September 1934

I am directed by the Minister for External Affairs to refer to the meeting of the Foreign Trade Committee held on the 9th ultimo to consider the question of securing a trade agreement with the U.S.A. I am to state that the recommendations made at the meeting were communicated to the Minister Plenipotentiary, Washington.

The Minister at Washington now reports that he interviewed the Acting Secretary of State at Washington and was informed that the United States government were at the moment engaged in negotiating agreements with a number of Latin-American countries and until the possibilities of agreement with those countries had been fully considered it was not anticipated that any progress would be made in so far as European countries were concerned.

Mr. MacWhite reports that a few months ago the Administration expected to be in a position to negotiate reciprocal trade agreements with the principal countries of the world but recently their enthusiasm in this respect has waned considerably. It would seem that the present tendency is to negotiate trade agreements with the Latin-American countries only. Britain has announced through the President of the Board of Trade that a reciprocal trade agreement with the United States is not of any particular interest. Canada followed in the same strain. Germany made representations three or four months ago but there has been no response. Mr. MacWhite adds that the Administration is naturally somewhat reluctant to negotiate with the Saorstát at present as under the most-favoured-nation provisions of existing treaties any concessions made to the Saorstát would apply equally to Belgium, France, Germany, etc.

Mr. MacWhite states further that unless the Saorstát is prepared to discuss in principle the question of giving some concessions to the United States, negotiations will be exceedingly difficult. Most of the Latin-American countries with which negotiations are now under way have one major crop - coffee - of which the United States is the largest consumer. The fact that the Saorstát has no particular product in which the requirements of the United States could be to a large extent satisfied, will make the prospects of tariff concessions very meagre.

Mr. MacWhite thinks that it is most unlikely that for our comparatively small trade the United States will be prepared to offer facilities which may be necessary for obtaining substantial concessions elsewhere. He has asked for statistics which would give details of the cost of production of the articles which it is proposed should be the subject of a tariff reduction on entry into the U.S.A. He requires also particulars of the origin of the raw materials in these manufactured articles.

The Department recognises that it would probably be impracticable to furnish this information but in a few instances general information may be available. Statistics of indirect as well as direct imports and exports between the Saorstát and the U.S.A. for the past five years would also be helpful. Where decreases or increases occur in the figures a general line on the reasons therefor would be appreciated.

I attach for information copy of a leading article in the New York Times showing the difficulty which America is experiencing in her new tariff policy.

[stamped] (Signed) J.V. Fahy

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