The Secretary of State to the French Ambassador.

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: Mr. Bacon tells me you would like some understanding regarding the publication of the reports of the two commissions provided for in a paragraph of the commercial agreement which we are about to sign.

The President cheerfully agrees to the understanding that these reports should not be made public without a previous understanding between the two Governments, or, at least, without each of them having been put in a position to express its reservations. This, of course, would not be understood to apply to the free use of the report by the executive and legislative officers of either Government, for whose information the reports are meant.

Lest those who come after us be led into misunderstanding and differing opinion as to the scope of this commercial agreement, it seems advisable that I should confirm in writing, so that it may be preserved of record, my answer to a question which has been raised regarding the scope of the provision that the concessions contained in this agreement may be withdrawn in the discretion of the President of the United States whenever additional duties beyond those now existing, and which may be deemed by him unjust to the commerce of the United States, shall be imposed by France on products of the United States.

The Government of the United States understands this provision to be not limited to the particular products or the particular duties which are specifically mentioned in the agreement, but to apply in case there be levied hereafter on any of the products of the United States an increase of duties beyond those now existing, deemed by the President unjust to the commerce of the United States; and we should understand this to apply, among other things, to an increase of duties upon cotton-seed oil.

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Our understanding is, of course, the same regarding the corresponding clause relating to the withdrawal of concessions by the President of France.

Faithfully, yours,

Elihu Root.