611.5131/751a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in France (Armour)

381. Department’s 361, October 16, 9 p.m. I do not wish to initiate any controversy on these tariff questions but in as much as garbled reports of negotiations and statements of the French point of view have been appearing in the press, presumably based at least in part on information obtained from the French Government, it is deemed advisable to make the following statement for your information and guidance and for appropriate use in any conversations on the subject with French officials and, if the question is raised, for discreet use in conversations with reliable members of the press.

The view has been expressed that the United States is showing a lack of reciprocity pursuant to the understanding reached last fall, and that France has cause for grievance because in exchange for restoration of substantial status quo in tariff rates, the United States has not so far ameliorated administrative regulations such as quarantines affecting imports from France. This involves clear misconception of the understanding. The consideration for restoration of French tariff rates was abstinence for the time being from application of penalty duties under Section 317,30 for the use of which the United States had ample justification. In the aide mémoire submitted pursuant to Department’s 345 of November 7, 1927,31 this Government went so far as to state specifically that it “cannot agree that the removal of the remaining discriminations against American trade be indefinitely deferred, or made conditional upon the result of the investigations to be made by the Governments of the United States and France.”

It was of course understood that each country would examine in a friendly spirit complaints submitted by the other with respect to treatment of its commerce. But it is incorrect to say that the examination of French complaints in a friendly spirit was to be the consideration for restoration of lower tariff rates. This is the more clear in view of the fact that, apart from the remaining discriminations, the American complaints with respect to French treatment of American commerce are fully as substantial as corresponding French complaints. The Department expects shortly to communicate to the French Government a statement of its complaints in this regard.