The Ambassador in France (Edge) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 22.]
Sir: I have the honor to enclose a copy of an informal communication dated March 10, 1932, directed by me to M. Rollin, French Minister of Commerce, which was delivered personally this morning by Mr. F. W. Allport, Commercial Attaché of the Embassy. A copy of this letter was likewise transmitted to the Foreign Office. (See my telegram No. 156, March 10th, 4 p.m.).6
In view of the personal conference I had with M. Rollin, to which reference is made in the letter, and in view further of the fact that over a month had elapsed and the representatives of American interests involved had still been ignored, I felt that this reminder was justified.[Page 202]
The Department will note that I included in the communication reference to the threatened quota on the importation of machine tools, which had been brought to our attention from several local interests.
Later today, at a luncheon tendered to Mr. Silas H. Strawn by M. Rollin, which I attended, together with Mr. Allport and Mr. Howell, First Secretary of the Embassy, the receipt of the letter was referred to by M. Rollin with assurance that he would make every effort to remedy the difficulties.
One of the reasons assigned by M. Rollin in defense of the quota policy was the existence of a number of bilateral commercial treaties with other nations, the provisions of which prohibited France from raising certain existing tariff rates. It was the French contention that because of this fact, the only way they can keep down imports is to restrict the totals to be received.
M. Rollin’s chief explanation of the failure of the French authorities to invite representatives of American industries affected by proposed quotas into consultation was that the quotas concerned principally commodities upon which there were consolidated tariffs due to treaty arrangements with various countries and that the consultations had been primarily with representatives of the industries of those particular countries.
During the course of the conversation, I indicated to M. Rollin that we were quite ready, and had been for a long time, to negotiate a commercial treaty on the most-favored-nation basis, which was the only method we felt as fair to other nations. He indicated that it would give him great pleasure to explore the possibilities and made it quite clear that the various types of treaties which France had with different nations had, as already explained, greatly added to his difficulties.
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