851.4061/89: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Herrick) to the Secretary of State


111. Now I am informed that during the last few days the negotiations between Hays and Herriot and representatives of French film industry have taken a bad turn. The French electoral period and the determination of Hays to sail on May 2 were contributing factors. A second meeting between Hays and Herriot could not be arranged until 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon, and an outcome preventing complete withdrawal of American films from France, followed by inevitable unfortunate consequences of such a development, seemed, under the circumstances, problematical. Prior to this meeting, however, I took occasion to write a short, informal, unofficial letter, which I addressed jointly to Hays and Herriot and in which I stated in substance that I ventured earnestly to request, as the question of good relations between France and the United States is so much more important than material interests concerned here, that neither party should take any decisions which would cause a complete cessation of business relations and also that enough time be allowed for further and complete discussions, aiming at a solution mutually satisfactory, by holding in abeyance the present regulations of the Film Commission.

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Such a measure, it seemed to me, would offer the best chance to both Hays and Herriot to enable them to assume an attitude less rigid. As a matter of fact, as a result of their meeting which lasted 2½ hours, Hays did put off his sailing until Saturday at the earliest, while Herriot will convoke a meeting tomorrow of the Film Commission to appoint a subcommittee which will be charged with holding immediate discussions with Hays.

My despatch dated April 27 (No. 8561)60 reports developments during the interval since my previous despatch.

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