Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Phillips)

During his call this afternoon the French Ambassador25 asked me whether I could give him any information regarding our attitude towards the abandonment of capitulatory rights in Morocco; he said that while he was in Paris M. Ponsot had called upon him and given him the distinct impression that Mr. Blake was inclined to favor the relinquishment of these rights. According to M. de Laboulaye, the French are especially interested because of the fact that not all American businesses and business men in Morocco are high class and that troubles arose through the actions and demands of some of the less desirables claiming American protection.

In reply I talked to the Ambassador along the lines of the accompanying memorandum of October 13 and gave as my opinion that M. Ponsot probably had misunderstood Mr. Blake because there was nothing that I had discovered in our records indicating that Mr. Blake was in favor of relinquishment of our rights at the present time; it seemed to me that the French protectorate was asking a great deal and that there was no particular quid pro quo coming to us, to which the Ambassador promptly replied that it would be to our interests to have Japanese imports into Morocco checked. I said [Page 853] that up to date, at least, we did not appear to be particularly concerned with the volume of Japanese imports into that country.

I told the Ambassador frankly that I had not fully studied the situation, nor had I discussed it with officers particularly concerned with it in the Department and that, therefore, what I was saying to him was said purely informally and unofficially.

William Phillips
  1. André de Laboulaye.