The Ambassador in Belgium ( Morris ) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 15.]
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s instruction No. 109, of August 9, 1934,20 requesting the Embassy to make discreet oral inquiries with a view of determining whether the French authorities have made any approach to the Belgian Government regarding the modification of the Customs Régime in Morocco, through revision or abrogation of the Act of Algeciras, or in the absence of any such approach, whether the Belgian Government has in its possession any official confirmation of the French negotiations.
Mr. Sussdorff21 took up the above matter orally with Viscount de Lantsheere, formerly First Secretary of the Belgian Embassy in Washington, who is now acting as Chef de Cabinet of Mr. Jaspar, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, on September 3. Viscount de Lantsheere stated that the French Government had approached the Belgian Government informally—not officially—concerning a modification of the customs regime in Morocco. The French Government indicated that it would like to institute a number of quotas in Morocco [Page 850] and endeavored to argue that quotas would not constitute a violation of the “open door” principle. One of the reasons advanced by the French as an argument for quotas was Japanese competition. Mr. de Lantsheere declared that the Belgian Government did not like the French proposal and gave it a rather cold reception. In conclusion he said that, so far as he knew, there had been no mention of the holding of an international conference either in Madrid or in Paris in which all countries interested in the question of Morocco would be represented and in which the Act of Algeciras would be the subject of discussion. Mr. de Lantsheere did not know anything about the details of the way in which the French Government has approached other interested Governments in the above matter.