651.116/304: Telegram

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

242. My 241, April 20, 7 p.m. The following is a translation of a letter from Monsieur Tardieu to me dated April 19 and referred to in my above-mentioned telegram:

“Paris, April 19, 1932.

My dear Mr. Ambassador: You have kindly reminded me by your letter of April 14 of the importance which you attach to an early and favorable solution of the question of double taxation. You had already called my attention to this matter on March 16 last while discussing with you at the same time the various questions which are at present brought up by the commercial relations between our two countries.

I did not fail to submit at once these different points to the competent services for study and I would have liked to take them up personally with you if the duties of my office had not as you are aware kept me abroad during these last few weeks. I would also have liked to express to you the astonishment which I felt at the action taken on March 30 last by the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris which quite wrongly accused the French Government of having discriminated against American imports in the application of quota measures. I knew however, that M. Rollin had as early as March 16th given you a satisfactory explanation on this matter.

From reports which I have received from M. Claudel it appears that the action of the Chamber of Commerce has produced a rather strong impression at Washington and that the competent administrations are studying at present the request of that organization to the President of the United States to make use of his powers in order to give satisfaction to American commerce.

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I am convinced no action can be taken as a result of the claims of the private organization without a frank and complete discussion taking place between our two Governments. Concerning especially the question of quotas I may already assure you that the statements expressed in the resolution of March 30 are erroneous. The quota system is never aimed at a country but at a product, no matter what its origin may be. It has therefore in no way been aimed at the United States. Once the total figure has been established for the importation of a given product, this figure is always impartially distributed amongst various countries in proportion to the amount of their respective imports during the years which were used as a basis in fixing the total figure. American commerce although it does not benefit by agreement with France by the most favored nation clause has therefore suffered no discrimination. My services are moreover at your disposal to examine in each individual case all the quota measures affecting American imports to France as well as any other question on which you might desire explanations.

In any case I think it is highly desirable that we should at once discuss together the different problems of an economic order affecting Franco-American relations especially those concerning double taxation and quotas as I am convinced that such an examination will enable us to clear all misunderstandings. It would in fact be regrettable if the initiative taken by the American Chamber of Commerce should involve our two countries in a struggle of reprisals which would only aggravate a situation already sufficiently difficult as a result of the world crisis.

Please accept, my dear Mr. Ambassador, the assurances of my highest consideration and of my friendship, (signed) André Tardieu.”