United States Economic Policy and International Relations

By Raymond F. Mikesell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 17
Postwar Developments in United States Commercial Policy

THE FUNDAMENTAL principles of United States commercial policy had been developed prior to World War II in the trade-agreements program, the foreign agricultural program, the antitrust program, the maritime program, and in other governmental actions, agreements, and official statements of policy, which were reviewed in Chap. 6. Whereas before the war, the United States sought to implement its international financial and commercial policies largely through bilateral agreements with other countries, the distinguishing feature of postwar policy in these fields was the attempt to develop multilateral agreements and organizations.

Concurrently with the development of plans for an international monetary organization, work on an international trade organization was begun in the State Department and other governmental agencies well before the end of the war. In the autumn of 1943 while conversations were being carried on with the British in preparation for the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, there were exploratory discussions with British representatives on the establishment of an international commercial-policy organization and an international commodity organization.1 Interdepartmental committees formulated the outlines of proposals for an international commercial-policy organization and international organizations to deal with commodity and cartel problems.2 This work culminated in the Anglo-American Financial and Trade Discussions held in the fall of 1945 during which the United States "Proposals for Consideration by an International Conference on Trade and Employment" were published, together with a statement by Secretary of State Byrnes recommending the calling of an international conference on trade and employment by the United Nations in 1946.3 These Proposals

____________________
1
Postwar Foreign Policy Preparation 1939-1945, Department of State, 1949, pp. 192- 193.
2
Ibid., pp. 622-625.
3
Proposals for Expansion of World Trade and Employment, Department of State, November, 1945.

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