The Ambassador in France (Edge) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 14.]
Sir: The latest incident in connection with the French protests and criticisms of the new tariff bill is a rather disquieting letter I received yesterday from M. Flandin, the French Minister of Commerce, in direct charge of tariff and customs matters. I am enclosing a copy and translation of his letter, together with a copy of my reply.
As M. Flandin indicates, and as I have already advised the Department in previous despatches, he has been very helpful in preventing actual legislative reprisals on the part of the French Parliament. He clearly suggests, however, in the letter enclosed, that if raises, particularly on laces, which furnished such an acute situation here, are contemplated by the Tariff Commission, he will be helpless in his efforts to prevent unfortunate results.
I am drawing this specially to the attention of the Department as I feel it is of such importance that some consideration should be given to this matter if a possible tariff war is to be prevented. It is only necessary to go back to the French motor tariff legislation to [Page 250] realize that if the lace schedule, for instance, should be raised above existing law, it would probably be a signal for retaliation all along the line. I am presenting the situation as it apparently exists on this side and have the honor [etc.]