The Secretary of State to the Czechoslovak Minister (Veverka)
Sir: I am in receipt of your note of May 11, 1933, in regard to the restrictions which your Government has placed upon the importation of motion picture films into Czechslovakia. Although this question has been and continues to be under active consideration and discussion by [Page 142] the appropriate interests and authorities at Prague, I am glad to give you my views on the points raised in your note.
This Government cannot concur in the suggestion that motion pictures should be placed in a category distinct and separate from other commodities of international trade. It would appear that restrictions deemed advisable on the basis of cultural considerations could be satisfactorily effected by equitable censorship regulations.
The restrictions which your Government has adopted in regard to motion pictures go far beyond what would appear to be necessary from the standpoint of cultural protection. These restrictions and regulations form a system which if applied to all or even a considerable number of the commodities of international trade would quickly stifle all such trade. These regulations and restrictions moreover appear to constitute an attempt to force importing interests to subsidize the domestic motion picture industry. I cannot conceive how international trade could continue to be carried on under such a system. A feature of the system which would appear to be particularly indefensible is that the control of the importation of motion picture films is not vested in impartial Governmental authorities, but is placed in the hands of domestic producers who are under but slight obligation to regulate with impartiality the sale of import licenses.
This Government is no less anxious than your Government that the negotiations being carried on at Prague in this connection be brought to a successful conclusion. I am not, however, in a position to urge upon the American motion picture industry the desirability of re-entering the Czechoslovak market as long as the existing restrictions remain in force.