651.116 Radios/6: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Edge) to the Secretary of State

70. Your 39, January 23, 2 p.m. Both informal and formal representations have been made to the Foreign Office in an effort to obtain a larger quota for the United States on radio sets, parts and tubes. I quote from my note of January 26:

“I have hitherto refrained from bringing the matter officially to Your Excellency’s attention hoping that the informal representations which have been made would assure a readjustment of the quotas as announced. The quota system as practiced by the French Government is in effect a limited embargo on imports. My Government makes no distinction in permitting imports, treating all nations precisely alike subject to the same tariffs or free entry as the case may be. Therefore, these rapidly increasing restrictions on imports are creating a situation in the United States difficult to explain much less appease. While the United States Government clearly recognizes the absolute right of the Government of France to impose any economic restrictions desired within the terms of the modus vivendi, it should be pointed out that the policy surrounding the allotment of quotas is so variable as to be confusing and to work great hardships. In any event it is plainly evident that the formula in the case of radio importations operates unfairly to the United States and conversely to the advantage of other exporting nations”.

I doubt whether these representations will result in an increased quota. At any rate nothing may be expected before the fixing of the quota for the second quarter of this year. The quota for the United States has been closed until further notice. According to information received from the Foreign Office 694 metric quintals of radio sets and parts have been admitted up to January 20. To this must be added the merchandise afloat or in warehouse before January 27. All afloat will be permitted to land. The excess of these [Page 199] amounts over the quota for the first quarter 1932 will probably be charged against the year’s quota.

It is understood that recent quotas have been drawn up in consultation with the French trade or industry primarily concerned and the corresponding trades or industries of the European countries chiefly interested in export to France. As far as we can ascertain American trade interests have not been consulted.

Informal representations have also been made regarding the quota on patent leather which will probably be issued within the next few days. The quota is based on averages for 1928, 1929 and 1930 which gives Germany an equal quota with the United States whereas the 1931 importation from the United States is nearly double that of Germany.

I am conferring with the Minister of Commerce today in the hope of securing for the United States a more equitable proportion in the numerous quotas which are yet to be established and will of course point out what we consider the unfair methods employed in fixing the quotas.

I shall see M. Laval later if necessary.

Full text of note is being sent by pouch.