The Second Secretary of the French Embassy (Bousquet) to the Acting Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Alling)

My Dear Mr. Alling: Pursuant to the conversation we had today about the French viewpoint concerning the tentative new statute for foreigners and the tariff modifications in Ethiopia, I take much pleasure in enclosing herewith for your information a memorandum summing up the French viewpoint in the matter.

Believe me [etc.]

Raymond Bousquet

Memorandum by the Second Secretary of the French Embassy (Bousquet)

On this date I called on Mr. Ailing, “Acting Chief of the Near Eastern Division” at the Department of State, and stated to him the viewpoint of the French Government as concerns tariff and jurisdiction reforms to be established in Ethiopia.

The French Minister for Foreign Affairs has been informed by the British Ambassador in Paris that the American and British Governments had agreed:

—To recognize the liberty of the Ethiopian Government in tariff matters;
—To improve and consolidate at least for ten years the jurisdictional status of foreigners in Ethiopia.

The British Ambassador stated that the British and American Governments would consider it advantageous to combine the settlement of the two questions.

While sharing the opinion of the British and the American Governments concerning this last point, the French Government considers that it would be very dangerous to foreign trade to recognize full liberty in tariff matters of a country with the administrative methods and political instability of Ethiopia.

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A—Tariff questions.

(1) The French Government considers in this matter that the Ethiopian Decree of March 30, 1931, by which there were established excessive consumption taxes involving discrimination according to whether the merchandise is of native or foreign production, and also according to the various classes of foreign commodities, is in violation of the letter and the spirit of Article 3 of the Treaty of Klobukowski, which guarantees moderation and equality of fiscal charges applying to merchandise imported into Ethiopia.

The French Government therefore asks of the Ethiopian Government the immediate repeal of the said decree.

(2) However, in consideration of the financial difficulties of the Ethiopian Government, the French Government declares that it is willing to assent to an extension of the time limit provided in Article 3 of the Treaty of Klobukowski.

Thus, the present duties could be increased by 50%, it being understood on the one hand, that the equilibrium of duties on wines, champagnes, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages would be maintained (which would raise these duties to 15% and 12% respectively); on the other hand, that the contemplated increases would apply equally to all foreign imported products, without the possibility of granting special advantages to any country. Article 4 of the Treaty of Klobukowski could be invoked in this respect.

(3) The French Government considers that Ethiopia should undertake, for the future, not to establish consumption taxes on commodities imported into its territory unless the same commodities are produced within the nation. On the other hand, the said taxes should represent at the most only a small percentage of the value of the product taxed, for instance, 0.12%, or 0.15%.

B—Reorganization of the special jurisdiction applying to foreigners.

The French Government considers that, in view of the consent in principle that it is willing to give for the revision of Article 3 of the Treaty of Klobukowski, a reorganization of the special jurisdiction applying to foreigners established by Article 7 of the same document should be taken up without delay.

  1. File translation revised.