Oral History Interview with
Honore' M. Catudal
Economic Analyst, Department of State, 1935-42; Assistant Chief, 1942-44, Associate Chief, 1944-45, and advisor in Trade Agreements Division; Special Assistant to Director, Office of Economic Affairs, 1944; Special Assistant to Economic Counselor, American Embassy, London, 1946; special assignment in office of Assistant Secretary of State in charge of economic affairs, April-October 1946; and U.S. delegate to U.N. conferences on trade at Lake Success, Geneva, and Havana, 1946-48.
May 23, 1973
by Richard D. McKinzie
See also Honore M. Catudal Papers finding
[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.
Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate
the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.
Opened September, 1981
Harry S. Truman Library
[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
Oral History Interview with
Honore' M. Catudal
May 23, 1973
by Richard D. McKinzie
MCKINZIE: Mr. Catudal, where is Plainville, Kansas?
CATUDAL: Plainville, Kansas is on a branch of the Union Pacific which
no longer operates passenger trains. But anyway, it's a hundred miles
west of Salina, halfway between Kansas City and Denver. You've heard about
Dodge City, certainly, and it's north of Dodge City. I'd say it's about
fifty or sixty miles south of the Nebraska line, but straight north of
Hays and Dodge City. Actually I was born in Plainville, but my early youth
I spent in Hays, where my father was a doctor. We moved from Plainville
to Hays and then moved back to Plainville.
MCKINZIE: When you were a young man did you ever think you'd go into Government
CATUDAL: Well, let me put it this way. I graduated from high school very
young, in 1918. Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States, and
he was one of the great influences in my life it seemed to me. I had such
a small class in high school, and I was one of the first in my class of
about twenty-five people who planned to go on to college. I wanted to
get four years of English and four years of Latin when they just taught
about three years of each of those subjects in this high school. But I
got hold of a Latin teacher and she said, "Well, we could switch
one year to your credit. We can have Cicero one year, and we can have
Virgil another year and you can get four years that way.
Then the English teacher said, "Well, you come and see me during
study period and I'll give you something to do to get the credit for four
years. Well, most of the things she'd assign me to do were in speech at
Then my first year in college was in St. Louis at St. Louis University
-- a very unhappy year for me I must say. I was too young in those days,
but my brother was going to dental school there, and my sister wanted
to take some business courses, so my father decided to send my mother
along, too, and we had a house. I was almost completely lost in St. Louis.
St. Louis University, as you may know, is a Jesuit-operated school, and
remember one of the very kind Jesuits there, who suggested that maybe
I'd be happier and better off in another school they had in St. Mary's,
Kansas, which is right between Topeka and Manhattan, Kansas.
MCKINZIE: Oh, yes.
CATUDAL: I went to St. Mary's College for about three years, and I graduated
The pastor in my hometown was a Frenchman by the name of Baumstimler,
believe it or not. He was an Alsatian and he'd been driven out of France
when they closed down the religious orders sometime around 1909. He was
very, very versed on
world affairs, and he collected stamps and got me interested in stamp
collecting, too. Stamp collecting was another thing that broadened my
Then my father during World War I, before we got into the war, went around
and talked to a lot of the people in Plainville where there were a lot
of Germans. He watched very carefully what was happening in the front
lines. He had been in France but he almost never talked about his own
experiences in France at that time. Later on I discovered why. His first
wife and his first son had died. There had been a typhoid epidemic and
then they didn't have all the vaccines and the serums they have today.
As long as I can remember my father he was white-haired and he was a young
man. I was determined I was going to learn French. I had the given name
Honore’ and my parents always called me by my middle name Marcel
-- to her dying day my mother would call me that. I have a brother now
that is still alive and he and my relatives still call me Marcel. My associates
here somewhere along the line called me that. One teacher had suggested
to me that I drop the "el" from Marcel and just call myself
Marc. I decided it was a good idea. Marcel sounds like a French hairdresser.
There actually is a hairdresser in Washington called Marcel. I dropped
the "el" see, although my name actually is Honore’ Marcel
and my own relatives always called me Marcel.
MCKINZIE: This Jesuit priest, then, was one of those strong influences,
I take it.
CATUDAL: No, he was not. As I say, I'd only known him a year in St. Louis.
I liked this guy and he was a very fine human being. Actually if I had
to do it over again, I wouldn't have gone to St. Mary's. St. Mary's was
a boarding school in that town. In fact, it was an Indian mission back
in 1840 or thereabouts in this part of the country. There was an Indian
mission there and they had a small high school. Actually this was principally
a high school or boarding high school, but they had an extension to the
high school. They had a college,
of course, and I got my degree -- bachelor's degree -- at St. Mary's.
There was a friend of mine who was at St. Mary's at the same time I was,
and he was a freshman when I was a senior, and I see him once in a while.
And it probably didn't hurt me a damn bit, but I didn't like it because
it was a boarding school and they treated us like children -- like infants.
Anyway, one day in some Catholic paper I saw they were granting in perpetuity
a number of scholarships for graduate students. Well, to show you how
stupid I was in those days, I didn't really know what graduate work was.
In college, I was editor of the school paper, which came out weekly or
monthly. English was always a pretty strong point with me in writing,
and I looked forward to trying a course in journalism. Well, anyway I
applied for a scholarship, and sent for the examination. These examination
questions were sent out to you, and were submitted to teachers in high
schools. I suspect they judged you more on your record than
anything else. But anyway I went to work and I earned a scholarship at
Catholic University of America. They told me to get my ticket to Washington,
D.C.; then get out at the station, and buy another ticket to Brookland.
Really, it was a separate town. B&O has a stop there. First, I didn't
know anything about the institution, and I didn't know anything about
graduate work and what it entailed. I first signed up for economics. Well,
I'd never had a course in economics. They didn't teach economics at St.
Mary's. They didn't have a course in economics at that time. For some
reason or another I decided on economics, and I still have a great feeling
Then the professor discovered I had this very French name, and so on.
He gave me an assignment, After all, I was taking a course in elementary
economics, just sort of auditing this, and at the same time taking supposedly
a graduate course in economics. He loaded me down with work, including
reading books in French on the
early economists. I thought, "Well, this is very interesting to me."
When I had a chance to change I shifted from economics to the school of
letters where I signed up for English, and eventually I got my masters
degree in English.
During that one year somewhere along the line I saw where there was another
scholarship being offered at that time by a man who had recently died.
He left money to CU [Catholic University of America], and to New York
University, to my recollection. Moreover he was one of our early, early
diplomats. He'd been in Egypt, but before he died I think he was in Washington.
Anyway, he left quite a sum of money in scholarships. I recall it was
for work in international law, diplomacy, and/or belles-lettres. Well,
with my English, I qualified for belles-lettres. I was always good in
getting good grades; that was no problem with me. This time the scholarship
paid cash. On the previous one, I had paid my board and room, and the
tuition was paid. You get tired of eating in the same place, no matter
where it is.
This Penfield Scholarship that I won paid $1200 a year, and in those days,
1923 or '24, that was a lot of money. The three of us who got this immediately
looked around. We kept our room at the graduate hall, but we used to eat
decent meals away. I must have had a little lawyer in me, and I've mentioned
I did study law. I never got a degree but I was admitted to the bar.
There was an old Portuguese professor there at CU. He had gotten a doctorate
degree from Oxford. He gave me the name in Paris of the Ecole Libre des
Sciences Politiques. Well, it was somewhat similar to the Georgetown [University]
foreign service program. In France many of their foreign service people
went to this school and they served in high government positions. Some
of them also were studying at the law school at the same time. He was
one of the most brilliant teachers I ever heard in my life. I used to
sit in on some of his courses -- not that I was taking these courses,
but just to listen to him. If you are around anybody who's really first
anything, you'll find he's first rate in a hell of a lot more than just
his own specialty. This guy was such a guy; he was a psychologist by profession,
and he had studied experimental psychology in Germany. He was very interesting.
I spent this additional year at CU ostensibly directed toward getting
a Ph.D., but I was no more interested in a Ph.D. than anything.
We had an agreement with the President of CU that the following year
was to be in preparedness for my study in Paris. Well, I spent that following
year in Paris and went to this school, Ecole Libre, and did two years
work in one in this sense; I took all the examinations that were necessary.
They didn't give me a degree; they gave me a diploma.
Then I went to school at the London School of Economics, to study economics.
I met some interesting characters there, including Harold Laski, who was
in those days the prima donna of the London School of Economics. Talk
about a brilliant guy; I remember him walking up the aisle, and I was
sitting in the front row there. He talked very eloquently on the history
of the political theory with references to Aristotle, and he’d throw
in all the Middle Ages people, and throw in page references to books and
so on. He had a fantastic memory. I spent a year at London, and I didn’t
get any type of degree there. Just sort of enjoyed it; it was an intellectual
binge for me. I saw George Bernard Shaw and in his old age, and by golly
straight in body he was even then. I’d seen some of his plays here
There were influences in my life that attracted me toward international
law. Number one was my father. And there was World War I, and the fact
that I had to read over as sort of an assignment the Woodrow Wilson speeches
as they came out. Later, after he left the Presidency I found out where
he lived, on S Street and I went walking past his place several times.
I discovered from somebody who knew -- the policeman on the beat or somebody
else -- that about 5 o’clock in the afternoon they’d take
him out for a ride in his wife’s electric
car. I saw him make his last speech; here is a picture of Woodrow Wilson
making his last speech, an Armistice Day speech. He had a little balcony
at the front of his house on S Street; he got on that balcony, and that
speech is a remarkable speech to this day. He predicted "You better
watch out what the Bolsheviks are going to be doing," -- the Russians.
Anyway, here he is on this balcony and there was quite a big crowd there.
I was in the crowd; I can't find myself in this picture but I remember
distinctly being there.
MCKINZIE: Even at the time you were at CU, Woodrow Wilson's brand of
internationalism had an appeal for you.
CATUDAL: Oh, yes. When I was at CU, I continued reading his speeches,
you know, and before that, in high school. As a matter of fact I probably
used some of Woodrow Wilson's things; I certainly had them all around
me. I was valedictorian in my class, and I had to make one of the few
addresses in my lifetime when I was a sixteen-year old valedictorian of
my high school graduating class. Woodrow Wilson was very definitely an
influence in my life.
There was this local parish priest, and then there was my own father.
Eventually when I was a student in France, I was writing to him in French.
I was determined I was going to learn French; some way or another I hadn't
learned it at home you see. I used to write to my father and he would
answer me in French or Latin. One day just to have something to say I
suppose, I told him the route I took from my boarding house, and I told
him how I went and turned off the Rue de Sur la France. The Rue de Sur
la Frances is a street on which the medical school of the University of
Paris is located. And I can still remember that my father replied to that
letter saying, "Next time you go along this route in France you look
at number (such and such); that's where I lived when I was taking some
post-graduate medical courses at
the University of Paris." I never thought of that. I'd known him
only in this town that he went back to, a little town of a thousand people.
All the people around that town used to think there was nobody like my
father, you know. Eventually he moved to another town, to Hays, Kansas,
and then eventually came back to Plainville -- trying to dodge people
as he was working himself to death, really. But they kept coming after
him, and he could never turn his old patients down. But he lived to a
ripe old age.
Stamp collecting, this parish priest, Woodrow Wilson, my own father --
they were the things that sort of got me interested in international law.
I studied in France and London; during my holidays I spent time in Vienna
-- then tried to learn a little German, too. French stuck with me. I learned
French real well. I avoided the English-speaking people -- Americans and
English -- in France, and that was a hard thing to do in the twenties;
this was 1924, '25, you know, and Paris was just loaded down with Americans.
MCKINZIE: What did you do when you left the London School of Economics,
and came back?
CATUDAL: At this time I had used up my scholarship finances. My father
sent me a donation and let me stay on in France. I spent about six months
in Vienna; I was trying to learn German, and I spent almost six months
in Germany before coming back home.
I made the transition from there to Government service. Well anyway,
I took all the Civil Service examinations around 1927 or '28 that I felt
I might possibly be able to pass. I thought, after I looked at it, if
I can't do it I'll just turn the paper in and go out. For instance, I
signed up for something for the Patent Office; I didn't even attempt to
do that. I'd had one year of physics, in which I didn't digest any of
it at all, and I could no more pass that examination than anything. I
passed a number of other examinations. There was an examination given
for the State Department, and to the best of my knowledge
it had never been given before and has never been given since. It was
not for the Foreign Service; it was a Civil Service examination -- something
about the domestic service -- and I passed that one. I also took the examination
as translator in the English language. I took the examination in three
languages: French, German, and Spanish. Well, I had never studied Spanish
at all, except about a month or so before I had left on a trip to Spain
to spend a month or two there during my school years. Anyway I soon discovered
that with my French I could figure out Spanish. So I took the examination
for translator, and I took it in German also. I had studied German for
several years in college graduate school. I got a higher grade in Spanish
than I did in German. I thought it was very strange because I really didn't
know Spanish and I at least studied German for some years.
The first job I got with the Government was with the Department of Commerce.
I was hired by the chief of the Foreign Tariffs Division. The
old Department of Commerce in those days was located there at 18th and
Pennsylvania Avenue, in a building which is still in existence. It houses
all kinds of Government agencies. Anyway, this Foreign Tariffs Division
received quite an addition in staff. The chief had gotten my name from
the translators examination, you see, and he said, "We adjust our
jobs sort of to the background and training of our people." He even
gave me a private examination also. I remember him handing me the "Gazetta
Officiale," or something from Spain. And he said, "Since you
can write Spanish you must be able to read Portuguese." Well, I'd
never spent more than half a day, I think, in Portugal; that was the extent
of my knowledge of Portuguese. The written language is very similar to
the spoken language. So they assigned me to Portugal, Spain, and a number
of Balkan countries. Countries like Greece and Turkey had their Official
Gazette published both in their own language and in French. On some
of the other countries like Czechoslovakia and
Yugoslavia, the Department of Commerce used to get most of the stuff on
them from a German publication that was the equivalent to our Department
of Commerce reports; they used to report fully on the goings-ons of the
Yugoslavs. So I had the Balkan countries and Spain and Portugal.
I stayed in the Department of Commerce about a year, But I was still
looking for an assignment abroad. I worked in a large room full of people,
about fifty or sixty people in that room, and we had to type off all our
little notes ourselves. Well, I couldn’t type worth a damn. I soon
discovered, talking to my colleagues in this place, that the Chief of
the division was a “dirty bastard.” As long as I live, I’ll
remember him that way. He knew a hell of a lot and had a great deal of
experience, but he should never have been put in charge of people. He
just didn’t know how to handle people. Some of my colleagues would
tell me that he would never let anybody get out of his hands.
I remember then getting an offer of a job, and writing this man from the
Treasury Department’s Customs Bureau. They had a Foreign Service,
too, and I wanted a job in their Foreign Service in France. They'd gotten
my papers from the Civil Service Commission, showing the strength of the
translator’s examination I’d taken. I went to the chief of
my division in the Commerce Department and I said, “I’m going
to leave this place, but I want to give notice enough to get a replacement.”
And he said, “Who have you talked to? I’ll get a hold of
I said, “No. It won’t be necessary; I’ve made all the
Well, it went on for some length of time and I didn’t see any replacement
showing up, so I had to tell him I was leaving for the Customs Bureau.
I said to the Treasury, “Don’t transfer me; take me directly
off the Civil Service registry.” This character was well-known by
everybody all over the government. As a result of being hired off
the Civil Service registry I lost a few hundred dollars in salary. If
they had transferred me, it would have amounted to maybe $100, maybe $200
more a month. Anyway, I started to work for the United States Government
for, I think it was, $1,860 a year.
MCKINZIE: How things can change.
CATUDAL: My daughter when she finished high school got a job with a Government
agency, for about three times that much, just as a clerk. I stayed a little
more than a year in Commerce with one increase in salary. Then I got TB
when I was in Paris. I was sent to a place in Switzerland called Montana
Vermona high up in the mountains. Eventually, I got back to the United
States and Treasury transferred me to Nogales, Arizona. I went on leave
for three years. I had discovered a very knowledgeable doctor out in Tucson,
Arizona. Anyway, I was flat on my back when FDR was inaugurated President
of the United States. I was thrilled by that speech. At that time I was
seeing the doctor once in a while, but I was getting in and out. In the
meantime I had one year of law school out there in Tucson.
I had sort of been interested in law for a long time for various reasons.
I was living then with a family in Tucson, after I'd spent some months
in the sanitarium. During that time I had thought about getting set up
in a business. Before leaving the sanitarium, I had asked my doctor what
to do. I said, "I see by the papers that there are TB people all
over town," and he said, "Well, let me send you the business
manager of my clinic here and he can talk to you." He came out to
see me and his wife came out to see me. He had had TB himself. His wife,
I understand, had one, sometimes two, people in her house and it was one
way of earning her a living. She charged a little bit more than just ordinary
board and room, but still it was a hell of a lot cheaper than living in
a sanitarium, and those people treated me just like a member of the family.
One of her daughters was still going to the University of Arizona at Tucson.
I asked her one day if she would go over to the law school and find out
for me where the classrooms were and where the law library was. I said,
"I'm mainly interested in whether or not there would be steps for
me to climb, because you know, Dr. Watson is pretty damn strict about
his patients. I want to proposition him to let me take some law courses."
I said, "I'll have all day here to read my cases and study, my cases
here at home, and it would still give me something to do. In fact before
I even broach the subject to him I want to know what the situation is
physically." And she did; she told me the layout of the law school,
and I found out how close we could get to the law school with a car. Eventually
I propositioned my doctor this way; I said, "If I buy an old secondhand
car and let her drive me back and forth to school I could take all the
first-year law courses there except one. I could take my classes in the
forenoon, and take
my nap in the afternoon; and at least it would give me something to do.”
Well, I convinced the doctor. He said, “Well, I’ll tell you;
as long as this is a sort of relaxation for you that will be all right,
but if it ever begins to be a chore you’ll have to stop it.”
As I saw it, that was really the most dangerous time of all, that period
of getting well. I remember a friend of mine who had been at the sanitarium.
As soon as he got out, in no time at all, his wife and children came from
Pittsburgh and he bought some kind of a grapefruit farm near Tucson. I
went out to see him one day and I saw him lifting heavy hoses and all
the thing he shouldn’t do. People died; several people I knew died
after they were on their way to recovery but after having been at rest
so damn long they were anxious to get going. They went too fast, too quickly,
and so many of them passed on.
MCKINZIE: You had a year of law school by the time Franklin Roosevelt
was inaugurated and...
CATUDAL: I had a year of law out at Arizona. Then I got this offer of
a job in the State Department and came here in May of 1935. I remember
going to law school one or two summers and then to night school over at
GW [George Washington University] for a couple of years. Eventually I
got enough law credits to take the bar exam. I probably needed another
semester or so to get a degree, but I wasn't interested in the degree.
I sort of created a job in the State Department. I was up here working
on trade agreements; they had a lot of Ph.D.'s in economics and international
trade, but they didn't have a soul in the damn place who had ever seen
a customs man or seen the inside of a customs operation. I had had some
customs experience. I hadn't had a hell of a lot, I can tell you that,
but I knew where the books were, and the people.
Before they sent me abroad, the customs people gave me some training.
First of all, they sent us to Baltimore, just to break in for a couple
of months, then to Norfolk, and to New York for about six months before
we were sent abroad. So at least I knew about the machinery of things.
Mostly I was in Washington and I was dealing with lawyers all over the
darn city. One day I was waiting to talk to some lawyer in the State Department
and I heard him talking on the phone. I heard him say, "He won't
understand that; he's not a lawyer." Well that was in general their
attitude; unless you were a lawyer you didn't understand their business.
Well, anybody who could read could at least read the statutory law. Well
anyway if that darn bastard is going to pull that kind of a gimmick on
me, I'm at least going to see if I can't get them. I did; I got enough
of law and took the bar exam, by golly, and passed and was admitted to
practice in the District of Columbia.
MCKZNZIE; Can you tell me what you did in the Trade Agreements Division
at that early time? What kind of work did they assign to you?
CATUDAL: Well, as I may have told you before, after I made this trip all
the way across from San Diego to Washington nonstop, you know, urgent
meeting and so on -- they didn’t know what to do with me for six
months. During that time I was reading what they had done. They had already
started trade programs; the Trade Agreements Act was passed in 1934. It
had been on for a year when I got there. They negotiated probably ten
or twelve agreements about that time; I looked over these things and I
tried to study them.
The guy who was responsible for the agreement and my coming into the
Trade Agreements Division, to the best of my knowledge, is still around.
I haven’t seen him for quite a while now, but he’s living
out here in Spring Valley. Henry Deimel was his name. He was an Assistant
Chief of the Trade Agreements Division. He was the guy to whom I wrote,
from Arizona, to find out whether there was any use for a guy with my
kind of background. He had been Assistant Chief
of Commerce, so he knew my work over there. Through his auspices, I got
this job in the Trade Agreements Division.
At the very beginning they had a very small staff in Trade Agreements.
They were loaded down with work; they had so much work they didn't have
time to even tell me what to do or to break me in. But once in a while
Deimel would give me a letter to reply to. Somebody would write, asking
about the thing. I can remember my early disgust with Government procedures,
you know, because you never do anything right. I soon discovered that
the guy who has the last look at the material has got to find something
wrong or he feels that he isn't earning his salary. Now Deimel, he had
gotten me in the place, and he assigned me a letter to write and I did.
I sent him a draft and he made all kinds of changes. I kept a copy, with
his changes, and not too long thereafter another letter arrived which
required just about the same kind of reply. I used his language and everything
else that I
had, and I sent it through him again. He still wasn't satisfied with the
thing even though it included his own things. Here's a photo of the guy;
he wasn't satisfied with his own stuff, by golly. Anyway, at first I didn't
know quite what to do about it.
As a matter of just general practice, when a new officer reported for
duty in a department (there were so few new officers in those days), they
used to circulate a little memorandum. In my case it was that Mr. Honore’
Catudal had reported for duty as an Economic Analyst in the Trade Agreements
Division. That's about the way they described it. So thereafter anybody
else whom you hadn't met personally would know, and if you'd call to the
library to get a book they had on record who you were. Now you have to
be practically an Assistant Secretary of State to get a write-up of that
sort, but in those days any officer in a department was written up.
MCKINZIE: They called you an Economic Analyst in those days?
CATUDAL: That was my first job; and the first commission I had in the
State Department was signed by Cordell Hull, himself, you see, and I was
called an Economic Analyst. I told you I was not an economist, at all,
but I had had some experience with the customs people. And for a while
I was kind of an intermediary between people. In the early part of my
career I created a job for myself there. In effect, I tried to handle
all the statistics and all the work that goes into making a trade agreement.
I continued to read a great deal on what came out on the subject. I was
kind of an intermediary for a while between my division and the lawyers
we had. There was a legal division in the Department of State headed up
by Judge [Green H.] Hackworth; he's still alive I'm sure.
CATUDAL: Well, there were two State Department lawyers assigned to Trade
Agreement problems. Both lawyers,
a junior man and a senior man -- both of them I suppose are dead now --
had never had any personal experience with customs other than maybe taking
a trip abroad or something and come back through, but that was no experience
at all. They had a great deal of respect for me simply because I'd had
this customs experience. Toward the end of negotiations, a type of question
would always come up -- these were all bilateral agreements -- in which
there would be a hell of a rush to answer questions about whether they
could do such and such. Well, I would talk to the junior man on this at
the time. I soon discovered that if you didn't have things more specific
and concrete, it was just a lot of talk. So my technique on this was simply
to frame a question -- I'd do this sometimes orally and sometimes in writing
-- and I'd also figure out the answers. I'd know the answer; I'd look
up in what are called TD's or Treasury Decisions, all kinds of customs
problems and so on. So I used to figure out questions, and
figure out the answers, and then I'd go and see and talk to this junior man about
this, and he had a great deal of respect for my opinions. Once in a while
we'd differ when I was trying to get it initialed from him. He was in
the legal advisors office, and he might say, "No. I can't go along
with that. You'll have to go in and see Mr. Baker," who was one of
his superiors. Mr. Baker was an old fuddy-duddy.
You have to know a little bit about the setup, how these things are handled,
how customs problems are handled legally. There is an Assistant Attorney
General situated in New York who handles all the Government's cases on
any customs. There's even a Special Assistant to the Customs Court. There's
a Customs Court in New York, and it goes on the circuit sometimes to other
courts. Then there is a Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, an appellate
court. Well one time we got a request from this Assistant Attorney General
in New York, saying that a suit had been filed involving a trade agreement
wanted the opinion of the State Department about this thing. For some
reason or other this letter was eventually sent to me, and what the hell
do you do in a case like that. I don't know. I was not an attorney at
that time, but I took this around to Mr. Baker and offhand he proceeded
to draft a damn long-winded statement about this thing and he sent it
on. But that didn't begin to touch it. And I got a hold of the guy in
the Department of Treasury's Customs Bureau, and asked him about this,
too. I discovered the head office of the Customs Bureau was not asked
in those days how to handle a particular case, unless for some particular
reason they might ask about it; but it wasn't a matter of policy to ask
them about every case.
Anyway, I talked to this guy in the Customs Bureau -- he's still alive,
too: W. R. Johnson. Eventually he became Commissioner of Customs himself
under [Henry] Morgenthau [Jr.]. He was a very able guy. Well, I went over
and talked about
this and I said, “Listen, the statement that Mr. Baker was there
just doesn’t -- we are going to lose this case sure as hell.”
We ran the risk of the loss of a trade agreements case in the Trade Agreements
program. And he said, “Well, if you can give me a copy of the incoming
letter; I sometimes write things here that are signed by the Commissioner
and sent on. I’ll work on it.” Well, anyway to make a long
story a little bit shorter, between W. R. Johnson in Customs and myself,
we boxed in Mr. Baker in this way. I had to send this memorandum; at least
I thought I had to. I didn’t know how the hell I was going to get
the letter out of the State Department, as there had to be initials on
things from the State Department. In the meantime I wrote the letter which
was eventually signed by or for the Secretary of State, and enclosed in
it Mr. Baker’s memorandum. In the letter proper, in effect, I told
the guy not to pay attention to this, and that he would be receiving another
letter from Johnson, on how to help win this case and not just a lot of
words. That started something. For a long while in the State Department
we used to get these kinds of problems as we had more and more trade agreements,
and more and more of these cases came up in the courts. And some of these
cases were damn serious. Some of them were trying to attack the constitutionality
of the trade program, but those were not very many. The Supreme Court
had successfully knocked out the NRA [National Recovery Act] and the "Triple
A" [Agricultural Adjustment Administration] program. We were all
expecting a form of attack on the trade program, too.
Mr. Francis P. Sayre was then Assistant Secretary of State. He was directly
in charge of the trade program. He had as an assistant, a very able guy,
by the name of John Dickey who later on became president of Dartmouth
College. John Dickey was a kind of an assistant to Mr. Sayre, but he had
a great big office in this old State
Department Building. My own chief was terribly crowded for space. He had
a small division at first, but it was gradually increasing, and he didn’t
have room for the people. He didn’t have room for me up in the main
Trade Agreements part. They just had a couple of rooms there in the main
State Department Building. He used to be in and out of Mr. Sayre’s
office every day practically. He would sometimes sit and talk to John
Dickey while he was waiting to see Mr. Sayre. He saw John had a very large
office, and I think there were three desks in John’s office. John
was alone there and so he persuaded John. He said, “How about letting
me send a guy in here with you,” and I was it. He persuaded them
to let me sit in with John Dickey. Well, I wasn’t an assistant to
Sayre at all, but I used his desk in the place. I got acquainted with
John Dickey -- got very well-acquainted with him. I soon discovered John
Dickey had been a graduate of Harvard Law School. While he was an assistant
to Mr. Sayre, I found
his principal job was to prepare for the expected attack on the constitutionality
of the Trade Agreements Program. This was back in 1935 after I’d
gotten to the State Department.
He was very much interested in me and the fact that I had been in the
Customs Bureau. Guys who knew a hell of a lot had never had any actual
experience with customs or the customs literature. We used to talk about
this, and the fact I had taken some law. We used to talk about this problem,
on how to meet the attack on the constitutionality of the Trade Agreements
Program. Normally, you go to court in attacking tax legislation because
you claim to have been taxed too highly; you want the thing lowered. But
they were trying to get the tax increased; that’s what they wanted.
We were lowering tariffs in the trade program, and the opposition wanted
some way or another to raise them. There was a landmark case in which
you got to show a legal interest in something; you can’t just have
a general interest
in it. That's worth knowing in connection with this case. You can't just
be an interested citizen with a general concern; you have got to have
a particular legal interest in the problem before you get a hearing in
court. They had a problem there of trying to show how they were being
hurt by our lowering the duty, when they thought we should be charging
a much higher rate of duty. In other words, the court could not just pass
on the constitutionality as a kind of an academic issue involving something
that's constitutional or not. I became very well acquainted with John
Dickey, and to this day I've been a friend of his. He's now retired. I
haven't seen him for some years.
MCKINZIE: He's quite well; I'm going to talk to him later this summer.
CATUDAL: Oh good, good; he's a nice guy.
MCKINZIE: When you settled in with this Trade Agreements Division and
the war began, how did your work
immediately change then? Was it sort of “all bets off” until
the end of the war, or did you immediately start into postwar planning?
What do you recall about the kind of changes that occurred with the beginning
of the war?
CATUDAL: Well, I don’t know the exact moment when we started postwar
planning. It seems to me that really it went back to, first, a series
of visits by the British delegations for bilateral negotiations. Some
of them didn’t get any further than just preliminary talks. The
New Zealanders even came over.
MCKINZIE: Oh, you mean the British Commonwealth?
CATUDAL: Yes, yes. And then there was [Lord Maynard] Kernes -- I don’t
know whether he was over here himself or not at that time. The British
had as much to do with our shifting to a multilateral negotiation as anybody
around 1938. The war had begun for them at that time, and anyway we were
still busy as hell at this time with the bilateral
negotiations and beginning to try to shift toward the idea where it was
multilateral negotiations. That came out of Will Clayton’s contact
and then the British loans. Attached to the British loan was a provision
or stipulation for the British that they would do away with Empire preference,
you see, in connection with the provision. I forget whether it was in
just so many words, but that’s really what our people were after,
or course, Harry Hawkins [Chief of Commercial Treaties and Agreements
Division] at that time had already gone to London, but he came back on
the British loan negotiation. Anyway they had this stipulation, the drive
toward getting away from this Empire preference, you know.
MCKINZIE: Wasn’t there something also attached to the lend-lease
agreement in 1940?
CATUDAL: That’s right. The first master lend-lease agreement also
was basic and fundamental in all postwar trade negotiations -- the ITO
Trade Organization], and the GATT [General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs],
and all of these things were all tied into that.
MCKINZIE: Evidently quite a number of people in the State Department
were working on postwar economy planning, were they not? Did you have
any cons with them?
CATUDAL: Yes, I did. We had a series of committees, called Article VII
committees -- simply because Article VII referred to the lend-lease agreement
It was always in the back of Harry Hawkins' mind -- he was influenced
by the British to cover such things as full employment policy and all
that -- he always insisted that it also have tariff negotiations as part
of this deal. The British always kind of tried to push that off, you see.
They more interested in the policies of the ITO, full employment, and
all kinds of other things. Harry Hawkins said, "Well, let's just
also have trade negotiations -- tariff negotiations. I want to have
something sort of definite about this."
MCKINZIE: I gather that Cordell Hull, as he thought about the postwar
world, was thinking about a world in which there would be more economic
integration than there had been, let's say, before the war. That the key
to postwar prosperity was in bringing about a greater amount of economic
integration, at least between the United States and the European countries.
CATUDAL: I'm trying to think exactly when he left. He was Secretary of
State a long while.
MCKINZIE: Stettinius was Secretary at the time of the San Francisco Conference.
Is it fair to say that Cordell Hull was the kind of guiding spirit for
all that postwar planning that went on right up until San Francisco?
CATUDAL: Yes, it was. Of course, we had some technical people in the
State Department, one of whom is dead now -- Leo Pasvolsky. In one sense
Leo Pasvolsky was the technical father of the United Nations, although
FDR was smart enough to call Cordell Hull the "Father of the U.N.,"
which he really was, of course. And you know, FDR remembered his own days
as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson and the collapse
of the League of Nations, and he didn't want that to happen again. He
instructed Mr. Hull and Leo Pasvolsky, specifically, to be sure to get
the opposition in on this thing at an early date. He wanted [Senator Arthur]
Vandenberg and the other people to participate. There used to be these
weekend sessions with Vandenberg and the Republicans, and on the whole
he asked these men to set the proposals. All this started, of course,
with the Hot Springs Conference which led to the FAO [Food and Agriculture
Organization], but the whole picture was formed at that time. I participated
in that to some extent.
MCKINZIE: What kinds of changes occurred with Mr. Truman? Were there
any discontinuities so far
as your work was concerned? Now I understand that the war itself obviously
was the biggest change, but did you have any feeling that there was from
the top some kind of change so far as trade agreements and so far as economic
foreign policy was concerned?
CATUDAL: Mr. Truman came in '45, of course, and took over. They had submitted
the ITO Charter I think in '49 -- submitted by a joint resolution, but
anyway there was a message from Mr. Truman there at that time. I can remember
no problem with Truman coming in at the death of FDR. I was wondering
what kind of an administration this Kansas City man was going to have.
I personally don't remember having any personal feelings about it. That's
another reason why you shouldn't waste your time on a guy like me. Oh,
I had a really good job and got to be fairly important because my chief
made me. Somewhere along the line, I forget when it was, somewhere around
1941, I was simply tapped to become an Assistant Chief
of this division. A guy like Harry Hawkins didn't want to have anything
to do with ordinary administrative problems such as promotions, hirings,
firings, and so on. All that was dumped in my lap. I'd never had any special
training for that, but he tapped me for that job.
There was a big reorganization under Mr. Stettinius of the State Department.
The guy who had been assistant chief of the division then was named chief
of the whole personnel department [Director, Office of Departmental Administration]
of the State Department. He's still alive, incidentally -- Jack Ross,
John C. Ross. He lives somewhere on Long Island; I haven't seen him for
years and years. In fact he's sort of dropped out of my life and, it seems,
the life of everybody else when I ask about him. For a while he was an
assistant to [Warren] Austin, the American representative to the U.N.
Eventually when I came in, he dropped away. Anyway, I got this job and
records were dumped all in my lap.
I found that I could use Mr. Hawkins, because everybody in our division
loved working for him because he had a good personality. You could see
this sometimes when somebody would go into his office and come out. When
they went in they might have been feeling kind of glum or something, and
when they td come out they'd all be grinning and smiling. Once I told
him if he was going to dump all this in my lap, I was going to give him
orders, too. I said to him, "I put through recommendations that you
agreed to for a number of promotions." They were very damn slow,
incidentally; I used to call it the "glue factory" over there.
"Well," I said, "as they come through I would like you
to talk to each one of these people whenever the promotion comes through,
and just tell them how we appreciate their work, and here is a tangible
reward for it." And I said, "They'll take it from me for sure,
because it will mean they will be getting a little more money," but
I said, "you're chief of the division
and you ought to do that." It worked like wonders. I still remember
some of the reactions. There is a fellow who has been retired for many
years and now lives in California somewhere. He came by my desk one day
and said, "I've been called to the chief's office; he wants to speak
to me. I don't know what I've done."
I said, "Well, you go in and see," and he came back all smiles.
He was telling everybody. I made the chief do that sort of thing. It really
paid off, and people knew that Harry Hawkins, himself, wasn't trying to
get any particular award. He was just getting a job done, and I knew this
from being his assistant.
There was a chief in the Financial Division which, after this reorganization,
came technically under Harry Hawkins. His name was [Emilio] Collado, Pete
Collado, who is now number three man -- the third man from the top --
of Standard Oil of New Jersey -- Exxon now as they call it. If it hadn't
been for Pete Collado I suspect that the State
Department would have been completely frozen out of having anything to
do with the International [Monetary] Fund or International Bank. But Pete
Collado, a graduate of MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] --
a Ph.D. from MIT I believe -- worked with the Treasury in the early, early
days of the war. I don't know how he ended up in the State Department.
He went to the first conference that created the Bank and the Fund.
MCKINZIE: Bretton Woods.
CATUDAL: Bretton Woods Conference; he was there. His participation in
this field technically came under Harry Hawkins, but Harry never had anything
to do with this stuff. He wasn't interested in any of those things. I
don't think he'd been qualified, although I remember him telling me at
one time that he taught school actually at one time. He was in World War
I, and when he got out of there he went to Harvard Business School. He
went to some small college in Michigan. I can remember when Stettinius
was Secretary of State, Harry would sort of grin at me and say, "Well,
I hope Mr. Stettinius doesn't remember me," because Mr. Stettinius
was in Harry's class at the University of Virginia. One year Harry had
taught there, and I think that was the first year Harry had ever taught
this course, and the only time he'd ever taught a course in finance which
was not his specialty at all. His specialty, if anything, always was trade.
He taught a course in finance at the University of Virginia and Mr. Stettinius
was a student.
MCKINZZE: Was it Harry Hawkins then who assigned you to Ambassador [John]
CATUDAL: He didn't assign me to Ambassador Winant; Winant used to come
over, as I started to tell you, and whenever he'd come, he'd pass my desk
on his way in to see Harry Hawkins. It was Harry who told me that one
time after Winant had come to see him that Winant wanted us [the Trade
Agreements Division] to assign a young guy to London to his staff, and
not through the regular Foreign Service channels. He wanted somebody who
was keeping up to date on what the thinking was in the division and in
the Government on post-war policy. So he sent two young people; one of
them sent me a note at Christmastime. He has been in the Foreign Service
for many years, and is just about to retire. He told me in his note, "I
think I'm the last of the old Trade Agreements people to retire."
We sent him and another guy to Winant. Both of them were bachelors when
they left us and they both married English girls. The other one is a professor
somewhere, either Occidental or someplace on the West Coast. I think the
first one I mentioned did all his college work while he was in the Trade
Agreements Divisions. He went to G.W. to night school.
MCKINZIE: Why didn't Winant particularly want someone from outside the
CATUDAL: Well anybody who's ever had contact with the
Foreign Service and who's not a member of the Foreign Service would know
the answer to that immediately. They are a "caste system" if
I may use a nasty term. They look down upon everybody who's not a Foreign
Service officer. They have a difficult examination to take to get into
the Foreign Service, and we've met some good ones and some bad ones. Just
like everybody else they aren't all perfect by any means. They were more
interested in the social aspects of the diplomatic career than they are
in hard work. They aren't all that way. I have a great many friends who
are Foreign Service officers, but there are enough of them to give that
kind of a reputation. Finally, he didn't want to take any chances; he
wanted somebody who worked with Hawkins. He knew that Harry could send
him over somebody who was pretty good.
MCKINZIE: I notice in 1946 you had a special assignment to the Assistant
Secretary for Economic Affairs.
CATUDAL: Yes. I went over to London with Harry Hawkins. I didn't go over
when he originally went over there. I had gone into the U.N. part of the
Department. Harry came back and persuaded me to go over to London as his
assistant. Over here I'd been his assistant. My wife at that time didn't
know whether she wanted to go abroad or not, and I said, "Well, it's
a pretty good opportunity to try it out. Let me go over and see what it's
like." Well, I got over to London, and London still hadn't been rebuilt
from the war by any means. I couldn't find a place to live for myself.
Eventually, I borrowed somebody's apartment who was going away for a while,
and used to get cold as hell. That convinced me that my wife couldn't
possibly be happy over there, because when I'd come here to the house
in Washington, the heat would be something. The children were small and
she'd have the temperature up to about 90. She'd just die over in London.
So eventually I abandoned my job in London and came
back here. Before I came back at that time Jack Winant was negotiating
peace treaties with former enemy countries. It was necessary to go all
around the Department to get hurried answers on this, that and the other
thing that had come up during the negotiations of the peace treaties.
The job I was given was to get the guy who knows the answer and then help
get things done more rapidly. So Jack and I worked together; that was
why I came over. In my assignment, I simply circulated a little memorandum
which I wrote myself saying that I was deputized, first of all, by Will
Clayton, the Assistant Secretary, and also by [Willard] Thorp to centralize
work on the peace treaties. I had a secretary and also I had an assistant
who changed from time to time. Anyway that was my special assignment.
I was not in the division anymore, and had this special assignment to
the Assistant Secretary of State's office. But I wasn't physically in
MCKINZIE: It was the economic servicing of the peace
CATUDAL: That's right.
MCKINZIE: When they began to bog down, did that make it tougher for you,
do you recall? Or was it just a matter of collecting information?
CATUDAL: You mean when the peace talks began to bog down?
MCKINZIE: Well, obviously there were treaties that came out, but they
were kind of tough.
CATUDAL: No. They continued on for quite a while. I have it here somewhere;
anyway that one went on for quite a while. How long, I don't know. We
went on with the idea of GATT and all.
MCKINZIE: In '46, I think it was. How did you happen to get into the
ITO and GATT work? Simply by virtue of being in the Trade Agreements Division?
Could you sort of detail for me how all that so far as you were concerned
CATUDAL: Well, a lot of people knew me around the Department -- knew my
work. I suspect it was John Leddy as much as anybody. John Leddy had been
with Hawkins and a few other people that knew me in the first meeting
of the ITO in London. I had gone over to London on the same ship that
these guys had gone on, as a matter of fact. Mrs. Roosevelt was even on
that ship. It was the first U.N. meeting in London.
When I came back I was sort of at loose ends for awhile. That first meeting
in London left a whole chapter of things to be done. Anyway, there were
commercial divisions that eventually became the backbone of the GATT.
All sorts of things developed, such as customs matters. Those were all
blanks; they hadn't been touched on in London. We had this meeting at
Lake Success, and John Leddy simply asked me to participate. At that time
I was at loose ends. So I moved on, and I just moved into, of all places,
the Shipping Division of the State Department. I didn't know
anything about shipping, but I knew the people who were around it. It seems about
that time we were moving physically from buildings all over Washington
to the new State Department at that time. Anyway, we were moved physically
out of the old building. John Leddy asked me to come along.
I knew John when he first came into the Division of Trade and Tariffs.
Earlier I had been Assistant Chief of the Division. He had been hired
by my predecessor to come in, but the papers hadn't all gone through yet.
The State Department's personnel unit complained because he had been given
too much of a raise. Previously he had worked for the Pan American Union.
Well if there is any place that has slave labor it's the Pan American
Union for the simple reason that all the Latin countries want to send
people to the Pan American Union, send them to Washington; and their salaries
there were awfully damn low. John Leddy, I think, while he was attending
Georgetown [University] foreign service school had worked over there.
He was hired by the State Department, and he came in and his salary was
increased $1,200 or $1,500 a year to our minimum. It seemed to me that
the salary for professional people at that time was around $3,200. And
the State Department people complained about this, you know; it was too
much of a jump. Well, I remember telling people after I worked with him
for a very short while, "You watch that guy, he's going to be chief
of the Division sometime." Well, he went higher than that; eventually
he became an Assistant Secretary of State. John Leddy was a genius in
many ways. In many ways he had the same personality that Harry had, and
he was a friend of Harry, too.
Anyway Leddy came back from London and they had this meeting at Lake Success.
It involved a lot of things that he thought I knew something about, because
of my work with customs. He asked me if I would work on those, and go
him to the meeting at Lake Success. So I went up there with him. We were
the fixed delegation, John and I, at this meeting at Lake Success. We
were up there for about five or six weeks, in the dead of winter, a very
cold winter. He and I took rooms in the old Henry Hudson Hotel. We had
our delegation meetings so to speak, by him just telling me what he had
done and I would tell him what I had done. Of course, once in a while
we'd be together for what they'd call the plenary sessions, but most of
the time we were at separate committee meetings. The Department would
send people from Washington for special things.
MCKINZIE: At that point were you fairly optimistic that the ITO, as it
was originally proposed, was going to go through?
CATUDAL: Yes, indeed we were, because among other things this was again
an intermediate step at Lake Success. We were simply trying to fill in
some of the vacant articles in the original
London agreement. You can see all the little written notes I have on this
darn thing -- all over it. Many of them only I could figure out what they
MCKINZIE: This is the Lake Success draft?
CATUDAL: Lake Success, yes. The Geneva draft is the thin one over there.
We knew we were going on to Geneva; we'd been at Lake Success for five
or six weeks, and then we came back to Washington. I was here only about
a month or so, and then headed off for Geneva.
MCKINZIE: In this draft that you are holding now, it is called "The
United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment: The Final Act and Related
Documents." Let me see, this one says Havana...
CATUDAL: Lake Success -- this was printed there; that's it. Here is the
Lake Success document.
MCKINZIE: That's the report of the drafting committee?
CATUDAL: The drafting committee.
MCKINZIE: The preparatory commission.
CATUDAL: That’s what John Leddy and I participated in as delegates
here. We worked on, first of all, the London draft which was the General
MCKENSIE: This is getting a little ahead of our story, but why then was
it necessary on the final act for you to make the explanatory notes here?
For example, I notice on Article 40 there’s the word “relatively,”
and you have a couple of little asterisks down there.
CATUDAL: Well, I’ll tell you, my notes were made for my own information
and sometimes they have meant something special or sometimes they referred
to some other part of it. There was one section of this that had some
notes that were called interpretive notes and were for my own information.
Sometimes it’s self-evident and sometimes nobody would understand
what I had written here. For instance, I have here, “exception paragraph
1,” which is
simply unconditional MFN Treaty and all that sort of thing. In the exception
to paragraph 1, the relationship of Italy and San Marino was excepted,
as was Italy and the Vatican City. "See report on page 48, paragraph
11," which specified the exceptions, you see. I have a one-volume
thing which combined the reports of all the different committees at Havana.
MCKINZIE: So even though the final act here does not specify that Italy,
San Marino, and the Vatican were exceptions to this blanket statement,
the committee reports do?
CATUDAL: Yes, and I put a little note here. Now here it says, "margins
of preference," and for meaning, "see interpretive note page
62." For instance, I've got here, "not in GATT." The provisions
in chapter 4, which is the provisions on commercial policy, was almost
taken over bodily into the GATT, as the basis of what we call general
provisions, as distinguished from the schedules of tariff items.
MCKINZIE: When did you make these marginal notes on this final act?
CATUDAL: Well, as I say, some of them might have been made right at the
time we were negotiating; some of them were made shortly afterwards, and
some of them -- I don't know -- I can't answer that specifically.
MCKINZIE: But this volume that we are now examining here, the final act
of the Havana...
CATUDAL: Yes, but that's a printed job. All these things I did at various
times or after, you know.
MCKINZIE: But this would be your desk copy, the thing that you used?
CATUDAL: That's right. It was my desk copy, and if someone would come
in and ask me, "what does this mean," or some other problem,
I could honestly look at the notes and say, "this means Greek olives."The article didn't say anything about Greek olives,
but I knew from having heard the discussion on the thing that that's why
that particular provision was inserted in there -- we meant to cover Greek
The final act was never signed as a treaty or agreement. It was only
transmitted to governments for their information and approval. it didn't
purport to be an agreement until each of the countries had a chance to
go over it and that's why we prepared to go to Congress on it. We had
to have approval for this. It meant the change of laws in one of the cases
in our department. In that ITO hearing document, I think I've written
in pencil, "For change of U.S. law see page such and such."
Got a list of them that are changes that are needed to put this thing
into effect. The top American representatives at this time were Will Clayton
and Clair Wilcox. They were heads of the delegation. I think Wilcox is
dead. He died just a couple of years ago, and I think Will Clayton died.
MCKINZE: Yes. Will Clayton is dead.
CATUDAL: All these characters signed the document, but they signed what
is known as the final act. It didn't even purport to be an agreement.
The agreement and the charter were attached to this thing. We thought
we had a clear text of the thing worked out, broken up into parts, and
worked up with different committees and put together again. Fifty-four
countries signed the final act -- fifty-three at Havana, plus Turkey.
I've got that in pen and ink up here. Poland and Argentina took part in
the decision, but refused to sign. Paraguay and Finland accepted invitations
and had observers, and Iceland accepted invitations but did not attend.
These are just a lot of notes that I had for my own information that don't
appear anywhere else.
MCKINZIE: I was going to ask you what kind of work you did when you went
to Geneva and with whom you dealt. Was the work with Will Clayton, I would
CATUDAL: There was a character by the name of Brown, whom I'm sure you've
heard of, Winthrop Brown. He's another bastard in my opinion, and I haven't
even mentioned his name, but he was chief of the Division [Commercial
Policy] at that time, and he came over to Geneva and worked for us and
Clayton. He sort of headed up the work on the schedules -- on the tariff
items. I've got three or four volumes of those things -- the tariff schedules
that were negotiated. That was not my field -- to figure out whether we
traded corn for cotton, or what not. I worked always on the general provisions,
so-called, the guiding code of fair practices and the guiding principles
-- the background to which all these tariff schedules were attached. The
British called them "shedules." We used to even have problems
on language between the two countries concerning this "schedule"
and "shedule" and even how to spell it. "Labor -- labour,"
I remember we had quite an argument at Lake Success about that. So I had
to do this for
my own information, to see which articles of the ITO were incorporated
in the GATT -- the GATT preamble. They don't always jibe; like GATT Article
5, Agreement of Transit, is Article 33 here...
MCKINZIE: Oh, of the ITO.
CATUDAL: ...of the ITO. As I say, the GATT took over, practically intact,
whole parts of the ITO. Left out all these things about labor and...
MCKINZIE: Could you talk to me a little bit about that at Geneva; about
all the discussion about labor and full employment? Were you involved
in those negotiations? You were talking about being interested in general
provisions of the treaty.
CATUDAL: In the early days of the Trade Agreements program, we used to
carefully warn people, "don't call these agreements treaties, because
treaties have to be sent to the Senate for advice and
consent." The trade agreements were authorized by acts of Congress;
they authorized the President to reduce duties or to make changes in tariff
duties in exchange for equivalent offers. We very carefully called them
agreements, not that it makes a hell of a lot of difference. I've seen
it translated; you get a hold of our agreement with Colombia at that time
or an article I wrote, The spanish translation is Tratado Commercial,"
which means "Trade Agreement." The Spanish make no mistake between
treaty and agreement, although they also met with technical agreement
problems too. When we negotiated with Venezuela a bilateral agreement
-- signed in Caracas -- they had to type up two complete drafts because
the executive down there could only enter into an agreement, without sending
it to his Congress in Venezuela, for only one year or a very brief time
anyway, and we wanted it a little bit longer. So they entered into two
complete documents; one of them was a temporary agreement which
would expire upon the other one entering into force. They were both identical
except for that sort of thing, you know; it was a big typing job down
MCKINZIE: About the full employment and labor provisions of the negotiations
in Geneva, do you recall any...
CATUDAL: Well, I didn't have anything to do with them. I knew that they
were in existence. One of my biggest jobs both in Geneva and Havana turned
out to be knowing everything that went into the damn charter. I was put
on what was called a legal committee, but it was actually a committee
aimed at getting a French and English text that jibed, and I knew French
pretty darn well. I was not bilingual by any means, but I knew enough
French that when they came up with something or other that didn't quite
ring true with the exact shade of meaning that we had in English, I'd
get after the French-speaking member
of this committee to give us something better. He’d say, “Well,
do you remember what comes after that in terms.” They had a provision
there about quotas, which was something about it being based on a previous
representative period. Well we meant by that that you could have any size
quota you’d like under those terms, but so each country would be
fairly treated, each should get the equivalent of what he got during a
previous representative period. If you were talking about an agricultural
product, there are times when you have failures of crops and so on; that
year would not be a representative period. A previous representative period
meant a normal sort of a period. The French said “Well, you can’t
say that in French,” that’s what they’d always say when
they wanted to stall on saying something. “Well,” this guy
said, “we can’t have the Academie Francaise” on this
and eventually they finally gave up arguing for this. They used to fight
about seemingly minor things
like that, but it was quite important because in an agreement like this
-- in fact in almost all international agreements -- the text of the two
languages are equally authentic.
MCKINZIE: Could you talk a little bit about Winthrop Brown as the negotiator
CATUDAL: Well, I would rather not, because I don't like Winthrop Brown
and I understand that he is ill now. I would have to say something terribly
derogatory about the guy, and I just don't like to do that.
MCKINZIE: Was he an effective negotiator at least? Is that a fair question?
CATUDAL: I didn't participate in his negotiations at all. He was head
of the Division at that time, and they had taken over there the whole
damn Division. They even had the Trade Agreements Committee over there
-- all the representatives of the different Government agencies. They
Trade Agreements Committee meetings, and of course, he was chairman of
that. This thing, after all kinds of problems of one sort or another,
was finally negotiated. One of the things I disliked about Brown was that
he was always "tooting his own horn." He made damn sure that
his name was on the final document at Geneva on the GATT. In all the agreements
that Harry Hawkins had negotiated himself, you won't find his name on
a single one of them. As I say he never had any personal ambitions of
his own, but Brown -- no. I would say GATT is incredible, and the job
we've done, I suppose is all right.
MCKINZIE: Well, could you tell me a little bit about Havana then?
CATUDAL: Well, at Havana we had two things happen. Almost all the time
in Havana we dealt with the ITO as such, and only at the end, for just
a day or two, was there a meeting of the Contracting Parties, as an organization
of GATT. You know
there were all kinds of reasons for not calling the GATT an organization.
We had reasons, and some of the other countries did. I can't remember
some of these reasons off the bat. Calling it an organization would raise
the question of whether or not you had a treaty. Congress had authorized
the President to make reductions of tariffs; it didn't authorize him to
enter into an international organization. "Contracting Parties"
was a term used instead. The Contracting Parties was the organization
of GATT, really, and Contracting Parties was put in capital letters. To
this day they are still called the "Contracting Parties." It's
been a going organization in Geneva all these years. With Congress we
had our "imagined" problems; whether they were real or not,
I'm not sure. I've got two volumes of hearings, called the Millikin Hearings,
led by Senator [Eugene D.] Millikin from Colorado. After John Leddy and
I came back from Havana, the Department sent all
kinds of people over for various parts of the negotiations.
MCKINZIE: I know you are tired out as we have been talking here for quite
a while, but I was going to as you to comment about Congress. You said
you didn't know whether the problems were real or imagined. I have seen
and heard other people make reference to this, and I've also seen some
documents which indicate there was a kind of a healthy, maybe unhealthy,
fear of what Congress might do, especially with regard to the ITO.
CATUDAL: In looking forward toward that, we actually had invited the
House to name a couple of guys on the delegation at Havana which they
did. They were damn useful people to us, too. They came out with a report
on the Havana Charter. Senator [Jacob] Javits -- maybe he was a Congressman
at that time -- but Javits went to Geneva. Then there was a Congressman
from Pennsylvania, I forget his name. But anyway they eventually
came out with a report on the conference, and in Congress they were our
friends. I always felt that Congress made a mistake in not taking some
of these so-called "enemies" more into their confidence and
,just drag them into the thing and let them participate in this and see
what happens. They would learn why you have to make certain concessions
at times. You can't have everything your way. Some Congressmen would pick
out all the flaws and say, "Well you shouldn't have done this."
Well, in the context of the overall negotiations, it was a damn small
price to pay for getting an agreement with fifty-four countries in the
ITO Charter. Well, we had to make concessions too.
[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]
List of Subjects Discussed
Agricultural Adjustment Administration, 34
Arizona, 24, 26
Austin, Warren R., 44
Baker, Mr., 31, 32-33
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 7
Baumstimler, Father, 3-4, 5
Bretton Woods Conference, 47
Brown, Winthrop, 64, 69-70
Caracas, Venezuela, 66
Catholic University of America, 7, 8,
9, 10, 12
Catudal, Honore’ M.
assigned to the Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs, 50-53
Civil Service Commission, 19, 20
and the Catholic University of America, 7, 8
,9, 10, 12
and the Commerce Department, 16, 17,
and customs, 24, 30, 36
and Deimel, Henry, 26-28
and Dickey, John, 34, 35-37
and the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques, 9, 10
and the Foreign Tariffs Division, 16, 17
and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, 53,
54, 60, 65, 70-71
and the International Trade Organization, 53, 54,
57, 62, 65, 70,
and Laski, Harold, 10
and Leddy, John, 54, 57, 59,
and the London School of Economics, 10
and the Penfield Scholarship, 9
and Shaw, George Bernard, 11
and the Shipping Division of the State Department, 54-55
and trade agreements, 65-66, 69-70
and the Trade Agreements Division of the State Department, 25-39,
43-46, 48-49, 53,
and the Treasury Department, 19-20
and tuberculosis, 20-23
and Wilson, Woodrow, 12
and Winant, John, 48-49, 50, 52
and the "United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment: The
Final Act and Related Documents," 58-63
Civil Service examinations, 15, 16
Clayton, Will, 39, 52, 62-63,
Collado, Emilio, 46-47
Commerce Department, 16, 17, 18,
Commercial Policy Division of the State Department, 64
Customs Bureau, 32-33, 36
Dartmouth College, 34
Deimel, Henry, 26-28
Denver, Colorado, 1
Dickey, John, 34, 35-37
Dodge City, Kansas, 1
Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques, 9, 10
Food and Agricultural Organization, 42
Foreign Service, 16, 49-50
Foreign Tariffs Division, 16, 17
France, 3, 4, 14,
15, 16, 19, 68
General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade, 40, 53,
60, 65, 70-71
Georgetown University, 9, 56
George Washington University, 24
Germany, 10, 15, 16,
Geneva, Switzerland trade conference, 58, 63,
64, 65, 67, 69,
70, 71, 72
Hackworth, Green H., 29
Harvard Business School, 47
Harvard Law School, 35
Havana, Cuba, 58, 61, 62,
63, 67, 70, 71,
Havana Charter, 72
Hawkins, Harry, 39, 40, 44,
45, 46, 47-48,
50, 51, 54, 56,
Hays, Kansas, 1, 14
Hot Springs Conference, 42
Hull, Cordell, 29, 41, 42
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 47
International Monetary Fund, 47
International Trade Organizations, 40, 43,
53, 54, 57, 62,
65, 70, 72, 73
Javits, Jacob, 72
Johnson, W. R., 32, 33, 34
Kansas City, Missouri, 1, 43
Keynes, John Maynard, 38
Lake Success, New York, 56, 57,
Lend-Lease, 39, 40
Laski, Harold, 10
League of Nations, 42
Leddy, John, 54, 55-56
London, England, 14, 49, 51,
54, 56, 58, 59
London School of Economics, 10
Long Island, New York, 44
Manhattan, Kansas, 3
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 47
Millikin, Eugene D., 71
Millikin hearings, 71
Montana Vermona, Switzerland, 20
Morgenthau,Henry, Jr., 32
National Recovery Act, 34
New York, New York, 25, 31
New York University, 8
New Zealand , 38
Nogales, Arizona, 20
Norfolk, Virginia, 25
Oxford University, 9
Pan American Union, 55
Pasvolsky, Leo, 41-42
Patent Office, 15
Penfield, Scholarship, 9
Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., 17
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 23
Plainville, Kansas, 1, 4, 14
Portugal, 17, 18
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 54
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 20, 23,
Ross, John C., 44
San Diego, California, 26
San Francisco Conference, 41
St. Louis University, 3
San Marino, 60
St. Mary's College, 3, 5-6, 7
Salina, Kansas, 1
Sayre, Francis Pa, 34, 35
Shaw, George Bernard, 11
Shipping Division of the State Department, 54-55
Spain, 16, 17, 18
Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, 46
State Department, 15-16, 18, 24,
25, 29, 32, 33,
34, 36, 41, 44,
46-47, 54, 55,
Stettinius, Edward R., 41, 44, 47
Thorp, Willard L., 52
Truman, Harry So, 42, 43
Topeka, Kansas, 3
Trade Agreements Act, 26
Trade Agreements Committee, 70
Trade Agreements Division of the State Department, 25-39,
43-46, 48-49, 53,
Treasury Department, 19-20, 47
Tucson, Arizona, 20-21, 22, 23
Union Pacific Railroad, 1
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 12
United Kingdom, 38, 39, 40,
United Nations, 42, 44, 51,
"United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment: The Final Act
and Related Documents," 58-63
University of Arizona, Tucson, 22
University of Paris, 13, 14
University of Virginia, 48
Vandenburg, Arthur H., 42
Vatican City, 60
Vienna, Austria, 14
Washington, D.C., 7, 8, 26,
Wilcox, Clair, 62
Wilson, Woodrow, 1, 11-12, 14,
Winant, John, 48-49, 50, 52
World War I, 4, 11, 47
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