811.512351 Double/196: Telegram

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

514. Parliament adjourned last night. The bill for the ratification of the double taxation convention was not reported out of the Finance Commission of the Chamber. Every appropriate effort was made by the Embassy to urge its ratification and Laboulaye14 added his support. Up to the last moment the Minister of Finance assured me that every possible effort would be made to obtain its passage this session and in a speech delivered before the American Chamber of Commerce on July 4 made a promise that he would do all in his power to hasten its passage on the following day. The interested departments of the Government have all indicated that they were favorably disposed to it and I am naturally disappointed because I feel that if they had been as well disposed as they said they were it could have been passed as a Government measure.

Information received from several reliable sources is to the effect that certain members of the Finance Commission did not care to act because, (1st) the convention is definitely advantageous to the United States, (2d) the convention is of a political nature and should be left in abeyance with the debt question, and (3d) the convention will also offer opportunities for bargaining purposes with regard to a new commercial treaty.15

At the next session in October it is quite possible that a new Cabinet must be dealt with and it is my understanding that a new “projet deloi” [Page 173] must be obtained. Considering the great difficulty experienced in obtaining the present one many complications and much consideration may be expected regarding the new one. Furthermore when Parliament reconvenes the time will be approaching for the negotiation of a new commercial treaty and it is very probable that ratification will be delayed until after the latter treaty is made or even until a debt settlement is reached. It is difficult therefore to take a helpful [hopeful?] view of the matter for some time to come.

In the meantime I seriously doubt the advisability of putting into effect the new tax retaliatory law in the United States. The amount of such taxes would be insignificant compared to the taxes which might be levied against American interests in France under the “quotité imposable”. This retaliation might also cause the Foreign Office to cancel the gentlemen’s agreement not to attempt actual collection of taxes already levied against American companies now amounting to much more than a million francs until the convention has been finally acted upon by Parliament. Kindly repeat this message to the Ambassador.16

  1. André Lefebvre de Laboulaye, French Ambassador to the United States, temporarily in France.
  2. See pp. 175 ff.
  3. Temporarily in the United States.