The Ambassador in France (Edge) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received May 9—10:35 a.m.27]
299. Department’s 177, May 5th and 183, May 8th and our 297, May 7, 4 p.m.28 It is apparent the Department feels that American business will not receive much practical benefit through an accord on quota administration as outlined. This view is probably correct but on the basis of the Department’s proposals is all that could be expected (see our 297). Under all the circumstances and it being absolutely impossible to induce the French to give up the quota policy, if the Department desires a quota accord then an exchange of notes would seem to be necessary in order that we have the assurance that the concessions made, great or little, will be retained.
However, if the Department does not deem these concessions of sufficient importance to close quota negotiations on that basis, there is of course a way out. In the first place this excuse even though somewhat flimsy as pointed out in my telegram 297: that the French have not in the matter of agriculture accepted our demands for uniform application. Then the result of yesterday’s French elections showing a victory for the Radical Socialists may very probably mean new Ministers of Foreign Office, Commerce and Agriculture and it is barely possible the new Government may take a more liberal position on economic questions. Should the Department decide to postpone negotiations for a few weeks I feel it would be advantageous to merge such conversations with a review of violations of the modus vivendi, which after all is of more material concern to American trade with the possibility of concluding a most favored nation treaty (see despatch number 2512, April 22),29 For the purposes of negotiation it should in my judgment be made clear that the United States Government have not accepted the French quota system per se and that all [Page 229] past negotiations have been confined exclusively to an effort to ameliorate its application.