The Chargé in France (Marriner) to the Secretary of State

No. 3593

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 131 of May 13, 2 p.m., 1933, requesting me to make representations with regard to the discrimination against American products imported into France introduced through the negotiation by the French Government of double taxation agreements with third countries providing that the products of such third countries shall be relieved from the increased French import turnover tax.

In view of the importance of this question I felt it preferable to make the representations asked by the Department in written form. A copy of my note, which I today left with M. Léger, Secretary General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, is enclosed for the information of the Department.

Respectfully yours,

Theodore Marriner

The American Chargé (Marriner) to the French Minister for Foreign Affairs (Paul-Boncour)

No. 2386

Excellency: I have the honor to recall that on August 2, 1932, the Ambassador addressed to M. Herriot3 a personal note with which he enclosed a memorandum4 inviting attention to certain commercial difficulties existing between France and the United States. One section of the memorandum dealt with the discrimination against American exports to France introduced by the application of the Franco-Belgian Convention of June 18, 1932, to avoid double imposition as regards transmission taxes and turnover taxes on imports from one country to the other. By the terms of this Convention, Belgian exporters were relieved of the necessity of paying the increased rates under the French import turnover tax on shipments to France. It was pointed out by the Ambassador that similar reductions as regards this tax had not been accorded products [Page 157] imported into France from the United States, with the consequence that the market for the American products was prejudiced vis-à-vis competitive Belgian merchandise.

There has now been ratified by the French Government a double taxation arrangement with Italy whereby Italian products, like those from Belgium, will be relieved from the increased French import turnover tax. My Government is increasingly concerned over the situation characterized by these two preferential accords, a situation wherein American products introduced into France are placed at a distinct disadvantage as compared with the goods of Belgian and Italian origin.

Accordingly, my Government has instructed me to inform Your Excellency that it does not feel that the method of discrimination in favor of third countries is warranted in order to avoid double taxation. I feel that the inequity is apparent of denying to American products as favorable treatment as has been granted to the products of other countries largely because those countries had instituted special taxes which adversely affected French exports. It is therefore earnestly hoped that a way will be found of eliminating this element of discrimination against American imports.

I avail myself [etc.]

Theodore Marriner
  1. Edouard Herriot, Deputy President of Radical and Radical Socialist Party, formerly Premier.
  2. Neither printed.