File No. 881.00/623

The French Ambassador to the Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary of State: I did not fail to report to my Government the objections formulated by your excellency in the note of January 18 last, to the conditions put on the importation into Morocco of merchandise from neutral countries which, in the opinion of the Federal Government, would be inconsistent with the capitulation régime, the benefit of which is still enjoyed by the United States. I took pains to say at the same time that the Department of State is quite ready for an immediate discussion of the terms on which the capitulatory rights of the United States in that country may be abolished.

The President of the Council, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic, wishes me to point out to your excellency that those rules are intended to prevent Germany from sending to Morocco German merchandise that has been more or less fictitiously nationalized in a neighboring neutral country. The general measures which the French authorities had to take in this respect are therefore not likely to apply to American merchandise and consequently have but a theoretical scope so far as the United States is concerned.

Furthermore, from another standpoint, the Government of the Republic deems it impossible to accept the theory which does not appear to rest on any text and according to which these measures would conflict with capitulatory privileges. The Shereefian Government, as a matter of fact, has the right to order that merchandise from any country must, before entering Morocco, be accompanied by certificates of origin viséd by French consuls and my Government feels justified in its belief that upon a reexamination of this question the Federal Government would concur in that view.

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In the course of his communication on the subject, Mr. Briand expresses the satisfaction which I have already made known orally to your excellency, he experienced in hearing that your excellency had declared your readiness to consider with me a settlement of the capitulation question.

He adds that the French Government would particularly appreciate that mark of confidence and friendship on the part of the Federal Government.

Be pleased [etc.]