Dominions Office telegrams D.234, D.235 and D.236.  We
appreciate great importance of matters proposed for discussion at
informal conference on official and expert level and are now
considering our reply.
Before replying we would be glad of your advice on the following
(a) Any brief comments you may feel able to make on broad lines as
to proposed method of approach to United States of America
particularly as we previously understood that British policy was
to allow United States to take the initiative on commercial
policy. Our view has always been that removal of trade barriers
could be fruitfully discussed only after plans for international
economic collaboration had been well developed. We are by no means
convinced that discussions on trade policy should now be pushed on
as the urgent immediate need in pursuing the objectives of Article
VII. We regard formulation of considered programme for Article VII
discussions as in any case an early necessity.
(b) It is noted that United Kingdom desires to open discussion of
trade policy in the first instance with United States of America.
But United States might regard prior discussion among Empire
countries as confronting them with British Commonwealth version of
obligations under Article VII. Is it intention of United Kingdom
to inform United States of America of proposed discussions?
(c) Owing to short notice and conflict with date of food
conference in United States of America, we would find it
difficult, if not impossible, to send suitable representatives to
reach London by third week in May. In circumstances suggest you
ascertain whether third week in May is latest possible date for
(d) We would be glad of your advice as to type of officials and
(e) In view of foregoing we suggest that alternative procedure
might be for United Kingdom Government to assemble Dominion
permanent representatives in London for discussions at intervals,
sufficient to enable them to ask for and receive information on
special points from the countries they represent. If this were
done we assume you would still desire expert assistance.