Statement by the President on the Forthcoming International Conference on Tariffs and Trade

November 9, 1946

THE SECRETARY OF STATE has today formally announced the intention of this Government to enter into concerted trade agreement negotiations with eighteen other principal and representative trading nations for the reciprocal reduction of trade barriers and substantial elimination of trade discriminations among the nations participating.

It is important that the people of the United States realize the true significance of these negotiations, for us and for the world. They are not solely trade bargains. They are that; but they are much more. They are central to the structure of international economic cooperation under the United Nations. They are necessary to achieve the objectives of the Atlantic Charter and of Article VII of our mutual-aid agreements. They are necessary to strengthen and support the foundations of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and to pave the way for the kind of economic world envisaged in the Suggested Charter for an International Trade Organization.

The substance of the Suggested Charter is now being discussed in London by a Committee of nations designated by the Economic and Social Council to prepare for an International Conference on Trade and Employment and for the establishment of an International Trade Organization. The subsequent trade-agreement negotiations announced today will carry forward these general principles and objectives by concrete and specific action to clear the channels of trade, replacing trade warfare by trade cooperation to the common benefit of all countries. Their success or failure will largely determine whether the world will move towards a system of liberal international trade, free from arbitrary barriers, excessive tariffs, and discriminations, or will pay the heavy costs of narrow economic nationalism.

I am confident that the people of the United States will give these negotiations their full support and encouragement.

NOTE: The formal announcement by the Secretary of State is published in the Federal Register (11 F.R. 13447).

The Suggested Charter for an International Trade Organization is published in the Department of State publication 2598 (Government Printing Office, 1946).