Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy: Anglo-American Collaboration in the Reconstruction of Multilateral Trade

By Richard N. Gardner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
THE COMPROMISE ON COMMERCIAL COLLABORATION

THE months following the visit of the Richard Law mission to Washington in the autumn of 1943 had seen rapid progress in drafting a financial compromise. Events did not move so swiftly in the field of commercial policy. This was no fault of the United States Government, which devoted increasing attention to the subjects that had been discussed in the Anglo-American commercial policy talks. It was on the other side of the Atlantic that progress struck a serious snag. After the Law mission returned from Washington, an official summary of the commercial policy talks was circulated to the interested Ministers. It produced a mixed reaction. Some Ministers supported further discussions with the Americans--among them, Anderson, Eden, Dalton, and Law. Others, however, were extremely critical. Amery objected to any compromise on the subject of Imperial Preference, while Hudson feared the implications of the multilateral programme for policies of agricultural protection. Beyond the opposition of these traditional critics, there were increasing misgivings from those concerned with the post-war balance of payments. 'Grave concern is felt here', an official of the American Embassy reported, 'regarding the absence as yet of any specific measures to fill the gap between the end of Lend-Lease and the re-establishment of British export trade, and such absence makes prohibitions of quantitative controls appear to be an ideal which is remote and academic.'1 All these factors delayed the resumption of the Anglo-American talks until the beginning of 1945. It was not till then that work began again on the drafting of a commercial compromise.


NEGOTIATING THE COMMERCIAL COMPROMISE

The compromise on commercial policy was worked out in two separate stages. First, there were informal talks in London during the first half of 1945 between officials of the American Embassy and representatives of the Board of Trade. Second, there were commercial policy negotiations in Washington beginning in September 1945

____________________
5786 L
1
Telegram from Bucknell to the Secretary of State ( 13 May 1944), White Papers.

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