651.116/356: Telegram

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

343. Your 208, May 27, 2 p.m. After considerable negotiation with the French authorities to overcome their objection to the making of a temporary rather than permanent arrangement at this time regarding quotas and to convince them that the matter comes under the heading of routine business and is therefore within the jurisdiction of the retiring Cabinet, I received today a note from M. Tardieu containing as a temporary measure and pending a further and more complete agreement between the two countries a statement of the rules to be observed by the French Government regarding the fixing of any new quota or restriction upon any product imported from the United States or in renewing any existing quota or restriction. The full text of the note will be found in my telegram No. 342, May 31, 7 p.m. I have made formal acknowledgement of the receipt of the communication and stated that it is acceptable to my Government as a temporary measure. It is understood that the arrangement may be canceled at any time without notice by either Government.

The note contains all that you have requested in your telegram number 208, May 27, 2 p.m. In addition, on our insistence, the United States is given most-favored-nation treatment in regard to all matters pertaining to quotas and restrictions. We consider this additional concession very important.

Paragraph B is now the exact text of the third paragraph of B in my telegram 286, May 4, 9 p.m.34 At my request the French Government has also included the provision in paragraph B by which the American quota would not be reduced below 10 percent of the total French imports in 1931 when the American share of these imports was over 10 percent. This will increase several quotas when [Page 234] renewed, especially radio sets (about 20 percent increase), radio valves (about 45 percent increase). The French refuse to extend this paragraph, as they have consistently done throughout the negotiations, to agricultural importations or fishery products. Our agricultural importations subject to quotas are very small. Of fishery products we are only interested in canned fish of which our quota is already more than 10 percent of the total French imports in 1931, so the application of the present paragraph B is of little concern to us.

Paragraph C is the same as that contained in my telegram No. 283, May 4, noon35 except it refers to “cases of especial interest” and not those of 25 percent importations. Paragraph[s] D, E and F are exactly the same as contained in my last mentioned telegram with the exception of the second portion of paragraph E. I understand that you do not wish to supervise the license system of the French Ministry of Agriculture. Therefore, provision is made for that purpose, Ministry to continue the system as it is now administered by that Ministry itself.

Regarding the licenses of industrial quotas the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris tells me that his organization is prepared to take charge of the licensing of industrial quotas but states that the expense will amount to about $20,000 a year; that the Chamber is not in position to supply these funds and that the French Government will not allow any tax or fee to be collected in France on individual shipments to cover this expense. He suggests that the funds be obtained in one of the following ways.

From the United States Government.
By tax or fee collected on each shipment, probably through the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington for the account of the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris, or
By donations of the various groups of American industrial concerns. I assured him that the first proposal was impossible and that we could not participate in the matter of financing.
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