Courtesy Reuters

Aid, Trade and Economic Development


IN the spring of 1964 representatives of more than 110 countries will gather in Geneva for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. To say that the less developed countries have high hopes for this event would be the understatement of the year. Again and again at meetings of the Preparatory Committee for the Conference the refrain was that the Conference would be the single most important international event for the less developed countries since the founding of the United Nations. These countries look to the Conference to lay the foundations for a "new international division of labor"; to formulate a new and "dynamic international trade policy"; and, as one representative to the Preparatory Committee recently wrote, to advance the goal of "economic emancipation" from the neo-colonialism implicit in present trade relations between rich and poor countries.

It is no secret that the United States was originally cool to the idea of a world trade conference under the aegis of the United Nations. For a number of years in the late fifties, the Soviet bloc had been pressing for such a conference primarily for the purpose of attacking Western, and particularly American, strategic trade controls as well as the U. S. policy of denying most-favored-nation treatment to the Soviet bloc. The American position was that these policies were simply a reflection of certain underlying realities of a political and security nature. Under the circumstances, a world trade conference such as that proposed by the Soviet bloc would merely provide a forum from which to attack Western "economic aggression" and appeal to the less developed countries for moral support for the "normalization" of East-West trade relations. In short, it would become an empty propaganda show.

At the General Assembly in 1961, however, the idea of a world trade conference took on a different cast. It was seized upon by the developing countries with great enthusiasm as a means of directing attention to the problems of their trade with

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