651.116 Nitrate/38: Telegram

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

785. Embassy’s 652 [616?], September 28, 3 p.m., and Commercial Attaché’s 165, November 21.43 It seems fairly certain now that it will be necessary for the American, Chilean and Norwegian nitrate interests to pay contributions or be excluded from the French market. Strenuous informal representations made again by the Embassy within last 48 hours based upon your 457, September 22, noon, appear [not?] to have been successful and it is doubtful whether formal protest would be effective. The Norwegian Minister states that he is making formal protest today on the ground that the contemplated action is contrary to article 7 of the Franco-Norwegian Commercial Agreement of December 30, 1881,44 and that the French decree imposing limitations on nitrate imports does not authorize any contribution. The Chilean Minister says that the plan of contributions is equivalent to a tariff increase, the latter being prohibited by the Franco-Chilean modus vivendi45 and he has, therefore, asked his Government for authority to make formal protest. He expects an answer tomorrow from Portuguese [sic]. The German interests are reported to have agreed to the plan of contributions. Although the Chilean, Norwegian and American nitrate interests thus far maintain that they would [Page 265] rather be excluded from the French market than pay the contributions it is quite possible that some of them may agree at the last moment to pay. It is understood that the nitrate interests must give a definite answer to the Minister of Agriculture by 3 o’clock tomorrow afternoon; that is, they must either agree to pay the contributions or be excluded from the French market. Do you wish formal protest made along the lines of the first and fourth paragraphs of your telegram No. 457, September 22, noon, as a matter of principle and regardless of whether the American interests agree to pay the contribution?

  1. Latter not found in Department files.
  2. British and Foreign State Papers, vol. lxxii, p. 325.
  3. Modus vivendi effected by exchange of notes between Chile and France, May 22, 1931, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cxxiv, p. 33.