The American Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Tangier (Blake) to the French Resident General in Morocco (Saint)2

Mr. Resident-General: I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that, as the result of representations made to the American Consul in Casablanca by various importers of American Canned Foodstuffs in the Zone of the French Protectorate in Morocco, my attention has been drawn to a Vizirial Decree dated July 6th, 1929, which purports to prohibit, as from January 23rd, 1930, the importation or sale of imported canned foodstuffs into the French Protectorate unless the name of the country of origin is stamped upon the metal containers.

The Vizirial Decree above referred to is stated to be issued in consideration of the provisions of a Dahir dated October 14th, 1914, and I would recall to Your Excellency that, on August 16th, 1927, I pointed out to your Residency-General that no request for the application of this Dahir to American commerce had been made to this Diplomatic Agency, and consequently, with a view to submitting its provisions to my Government for its consideration, I suggested that I be supplied with several copies of the text thereof. To this suggestion, the Residency-General, by Note No. 281–D of September 12th, 1927, replied that no copies of the Dahir were available, and that this text was in any case but of relative value in view of the numerous subsequent modifications thereof. However, a new pamphlet on the subject of the legislation in the French Protectorate regarding the repression of commercial frauds, then in preparation, was expected to be published by the end of the year 1927, and it was stated that the Residency-General would forward copies of this pamphlet to this Diplomatic Agency [Page 738] for communication to my Government, looking to its endorsement thereof. This exchange of correspondence appears to have been overlooked by the Residency-General, and I would avail myself of this opportunity to suggest that I now be supplied with the available compendium of legislation edicted in the French Zone of Morocco on the subject in question, and, should the Protectorate Government desire the adhesion of the United States to these measures, that a formal request be made to this effect.

With respect to the Vizirial Decree referred to in the opening paragraph of the present communication, no official notification, through a request for the necessary consent of my Government to the contemplated legislation, has been made by the Residency-General to this Diplomatic Agency, and Your Excellency is aware that under the provisions of the treaties in the premises, the absence of the acquiescence of the Government of the United States in the application of such measures debars them from legal enforcement upon American nationals and ressortissants in the French Zone.

Finally, without attempting to discuss any valid objections from the point of view of the American tinned food industry, which might possibly be preferred against the measures after a technical examination of their purport, and assuming that my Government might be disposed, upon request being duly made to it, to acquiesce in the application of the provisions of the Decree to the American interests concerned, it will be obvious that the failure of the Residency-General to make, at the proper time, the notification above referred to, has deprived American packers of the opportunity to adjust their containers to meet the requirements of the regulation in question, so as to be in a position to continue, without suspension, their normal current of shipments, as from the date upon which it is proposed to make the Decree operative.

I feel assured that Your Excellency would not desire to see, and indeed will take measures to prevent, any unwarranted prejudice to the interests of the American tinned food industry, which would have arisen through the oversight of the Residency-General itself to give due and proper notification of the introduction of these measures through normal official channels.

In so far, therefore, as the Decree may affect the legitimate interests in Morocco of the canners and shippers of tinned foodstuffs from the United States, I am constrained to formulate all reservations, and I anticipate, with confidence, that the Protectorate Government will be disposed to give due consideration to this as well as to the other aspects of the question raised by the present Note.

Please accept [etc.]

Maxwell Blake
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Diplomatic Agent and Consul General in his despatch No. 467, January 17, 1930; received February 10.