The Secretary of State to the French Ambassador.

Dear Mr. Ambassador: I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of January 25 replying to my letter of the 11th instant, and advising me that you had communicated to your Government by cable the substance of my remarks in that letter regarding the construction of the commercial agreement which we are about to sign, and that the reply of your Government contains no objection.

On the other hand, you say your Government asks you to make it quite clear that, as already agreed to in our conversations, it is to be understood that the commissions provided for in that agreement “will not have to negotiate, and much less to come to any agreement. They are to be mere commissions of inquiry, and the mission of the specialists that will be members thereof is confined to collecting and exchanging information.”

This view entirely agrees with the view of the Government of the United States in providing for such a commission. It is our understanding that no power of agreement or negotiation is to be vested in the commissioners, but they are to be confined to the performance of the duties which you describe.

Believe me, etc.,

Elihu Root.