1. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Common Market and Tariff Negotiations


  • United States
    • The Secretary
    • Mr. W.R. Tyler, EUR
    • Mr. E.J. Beigel, WE
  • France
    • Ambassador Herve Alphand, French Embassy
    • Mr. Bruno de Leusse, Minister Counselor, French Embassy

Ambassador Alphand said the results of the latest meetings at Brussels2 are good and may open the way for moves toward political institutions. He was struck by the fact that this result is not considered such a good thing here. He said the allegations about an ultimatum were unfounded and that the Six had reached decisions in accordance with their previous agreement to take action on a common agricultural policy by the end of 1963, and to agree about undertaking trade negotiations with outside countries. The consolidation of the EEC will increase demand for US goods, which had increased 60 percent over the past five years, although perhaps not for the same goods. He did not believe this was a sign of protectionism.

The Secretary said we have been cautious in commenting since we were not sure what happened at Brussels. He had indicated in his press conference3 last week that we find the results politically encouraging but realize that in trade questions details are important. Some misunderstanding had arisen out of reports of the talks with Erhard.4 When we get the details of the Brussels decisions we will discuss them with the Commission and with the Six, but there is to be no special US-German machinery. We are pleased by the absence of catastrophe at Brussels but [Page 2] we did not wish to go overboard until we had seen the details of the decisions.

The Ambassador said that while they may not make the full 50 percent linear reductions they will at least move in the direction of tariff cuts. He realized how complicated were tariff negotiations. He deplored the fantastic article from Luxembourg in today’s Wall Street Journal about protectionism under French leadership. This is not at all what De Gaulle said to the President in November.

The Secretary noted that decisions may be taken at Luxembourg this week about steel tariffs and said the question is whether we can get into the trade negotiations in May before restrictive measures are taken in various countries.

Ambassador Alphand said that the French had the idea that Wormser should come here for talks but he would not wish to see charges of any special US-French machinery. Although the visit had been envisaged before Brussels, he wondered if we were still interested.

The Secretary said that we would inquire of Governor Herter and would be in touch with him.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, ECIN 6 EEC. Confidential. Drafted by Beigel and approved in S on January 19. The conversation was held in Rusk’s office. The source text is labeled “Part II of V.”
  2. For an analysis of the European Economic Community (EEC) meeting, which ended on December 23, see circular telegram 1163, Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XIII, Document 90.
  3. For a transcript of Rusk’s press conference on January 2, see Department of State Bulletin, January 20, 1964, pp. 81-89.
  4. For documentation on Chancellor Erhard’s visit to the United States December 28–29, 1963, see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XIII, Document 89, and XV, Documents 248256.