The Ambassador in France ( Edge ) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 18—4:17 p.m.]
222. Your 159, July 16, 5 p.m.17 Alvord telephoned last night to Howell stating that the administration was desirous of putting the proposed double taxation treaty in final form at once but delaying signature for various reasons until about December, that he was prepared to leave for Paris today for the purpose of assisting in the drafting, and that he would appreciate a reply by telephone today after M. Borduge had been consulted. Under my instructions Howell telephoned the following to Alvord today:
“Mr. Carroll and I saw M. Borduge this morning. We explained to him that we would like the treaty put in final form immediately with [Page 25] certain alterations but not signed probably until December because of political reasons. He could find no means of making the agreement binding until formally signed but suggested that the best thing to be done under the circumstances would be for both Governments to appoint an official delegation to meet in Paris to negotiate this treaty. They could sign or initial the draft treaty without any obligation on the part of either Government. Borduge told us confidentially this morning that he is not leaving the Government until the end of the year. So while the signing or initialing of the draft would not bind either Government it would bind Borduge until our Government had decided whether to sign the treaty.
It is important to commit Borduge at once because he is pointing out instances of avoidance of French taxes which could not be prevented under the draft treaty and because apparently he is rapidly losing interest. Therefore, provided this arrangement is satisfactory to Washington, the Ambassador desires both you and Dr. Adams to take today’s or tomorrow’s boat for Paris. We have prevailed upon Borduge to postpone his vacation until August 6. As I said above we found M. Borduge decidedly losing interest in the treaty. The Ambassador thinks it is imperative that Dr. Adams return with you to hold the ground already gained, to negotiate the changes Mr. Mills desires in article 10, several changes we have noted here and any that you may have. If he cannot leave today he could sail on the Statendam tomorrow arriving here on July 26th which would give ample time to resume the negotiations. The Ambassador wishes me to emphasize that in his present frame of mind it is going to be extremely difficult to do any further negotiating with Borduge and he believes it imperative that Dr. Adams should return. He thinks it equally important that you should come on account of the drafting. You state that Mr. Mills will be in Paris about August 10. Since the official negotiations should be concluded about that time his presence in Paris would be most propitious.
If the above plan is satisfactory the Ambassador desires you to be good enough to arrange with the State Department, before you leave, to send instructions by cable to him appointing Dr. Adams, yourself, Carroll and myself as official delegates to negotiate this treaty in Paris beginning July 28th. The Foreign Office has approved the above arrangement for the holding of these official negotiations and will designate its same four representatives as delegates, namely, MM. Borduge, Barrau, and Guinard from the Ministry of Budget and M. Campana from the Foreign Office.”
Mr. Alvord replied that he believed the Government would approve the above plan, that he would probably sail tonight but did not think Dr. Adams could come. I suggest this telegram be shown to Dr. Adams who is now in Washington and that he be urged to return to Paris immediately at Government expense.
I fear very much that any lack of interest on our part or failure promptly to clinch admitted advantage secured may wreck the whole proposal. It shall always be borne in mind that the United States and not France is seeking relief.
- Not printed.↩