681.003/80: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Tangier ( Blake )

9. Your 11, November 5, 6 p.m. You are authorized to accept M. Ponsot’s request for interview at Rabat. Transportation and per diem in accordance travel regulations authorized Chargeable transportation appropriation. It should be made clear to Ponsot, however, that the conversations are entirely informal and in deference to his request. The French Ambassador recently made informal oral inquiry about our attitude toward a revision of the capitulatory and economic regime [Page 854] now in force in Morocco. He was advised that the questions raised by the French authorities have many angles involving our treaty rights established with Morocco and in conjunction with other Powers signatory to the Convention of Madrid and to the Act of Algeciras, and that therefore this Government is not prepared to make any answer or discuss the matter except informally and without commitment until the whole question has been very carefully explored, with the view of ascertaining whether the French are prepared to develop and offer substantial and permanent guarantees protecting our economic position in Morocco, and what quid pro quo they would offer us in return for the surrender of our present position. You should take a similar position with M. Ponsot. In connection with future guarantees of our economic position in Morocco, please ascertain what M. Ponsot has to say regarding the long series of violations of our treaty rights by the protectorate authorities over a period of years subsequent to the recognition of the protectorate by the institution of such measures as the wheat dahir of 1929. Similarly, how does M. Ponsot reconcile the proposed customs modification, involving the system of quotas and licenses for different countries, as indicated in your 975,27 with the principle of equal opportunity for all as guaranteed in the treaties?

As we see it, the French are asking us to give up the principle of the Open Door in favor of a system of contingents and are furthermore seeking to effect a close bilateral balancing of trade between Morocco and the United States. Both of these principles are in direct contradiction to the theory on which Mr. Hull is basing his commercial program. In conversations therefore it is suggested that you attempt to elicit from Ponsot further information as to his eventual plans making it clear that the regime he has suggested is not only not an improvement on the present status, as he tries to make it appear, but an actual retrogression and without any guarantees for the future.

Please report fully by despatch and add a brief but accurate statement and appraisal of outstanding, unsettled claims arising from violations of our rights since we recognized the French protectorate (refer to Department’s instruction 811 of July 24, reply to which is awaited). Please also indicate whether list of claims in your despatch 959 of July 1927 is complete. We should also appreciate your evaluation of the action which the Protectorate authorities may take irrespective of our acquiescence in their request for revision. Finally, can you suggest any measures of an economic nature which you feel it would be in our interest to accept?

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