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142 Beasley to Evatt

Cablegram 420 [1] [PHILADELPHIA], 10 May 1944, 7.21 p.m.


I.L.O. Report 30.

At midnight last night word was received that the State Department would not consider any specific undertakings, and Miss Perkins has been obliged to withdraw even the text which had previously been agreed upon by the State Department officials. [2]

Late yesterday afternoon we were informed all would be well and there is plenty of evidence that this is the direct result of intervention by the British Embassy at Washington, particularly as the arguments the State Department used were their arguments.

Firstly that employment agreement was out of place before other Article 7 negotiations were completed, and secondly that the I.L.O. was not the appropriate body to make such recommendation.

The United Kingdom Government emphatically do not want the I.L.O.

to put pressure on them in respect of any policy.

Whatever the reason the fact is the United States State Department is not prepared to make employment obligation reciprocal to monetary and commercial obligations at any rate at this stage. As far as I can make out the matter was not referred to Hull. Even so I feel that I must make a statement when the Americans submit their draft which excludes all undertakings explaining once again the employment approach and stating definitely dependent economies cannot be expected to enter into obligations which restrict their freedom of action unless the countries on whom they are dependent are willing to enter into employment obligations.

I am not making any direct reference to Article 7 but merely referring to two sides of the obligations in this way. I regret there is no opportunity to consult you, but I am sure that you would not wish me to avoid bringing this matter to a head now we have gone so far. I have failed to obtain the agreement which in retrospect was perhaps to be expected, but at least we have what must be regarded as a public confession that the United States is not prepared to carry out an obligation which we and other countries must regard as fundamental to economic collaboration. I have probably placed you in a difficult position with regard to the monetary conference and other negotiations.

On the other hand I feel that you might be able to turn this to good account.

The wisdom of raising these matters might be challenged. They were matters being negotiated by officials between Governments. I do not see, however, that any other course was open to us except to be, passive observers particularly as the Americans put up their proposals. If there had to be a showdown it is better now before we have to sign other agreements. It would be unreal to argue that the United States might have accepted the obligations as a result of secret negotiations though I imagine the United Kingdom and the United States will put that view having been caught off this mark publicly as they were with the New Zealand agreement. [3]

1 Sent through the Legation in Washington.

2 See Document 138.

3 Document 26.

[AA:A989, 44/1320/13/3]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History