Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Moffat)

The Netherland Chargé d’Affaires called with reference to Morocco. He said that his Government had received a request from the French Government to consent to a new commercial régime in substitution of that provided for in the Act of Algeciras. We compared notes and found that it was virtually the same proposal that had been put forward here. He asked our attitude and I told him briefly that as we saw it the French were asking us to give up the principle of the Open Door in favor of a system of contingents and were furthermore seeking to effect a close bilateral balancing of trade between Morocco and the United States. Both of these principles were in direct contradiction to the theory on which Mr. Hull was basing his commercial program. In a word we felt that the régime which the French were suggesting was not only not an improvement on the present status, as they tried to make it appear, but an actual retrogression and without any guarantees for the future. I added that we could scarcely believe that this could represent a serious French position and had asked Mr. Blake to find out what was in the back of Ponsot’s mind.

The Chargé told me that our analysis was almost word for word that of his own Government; that as signatories of the Algeciras Conference, they would not accept this new régime and wished to inform us to this effect. They hoped too that we would not modify our position. As a last concession the Dutch would be prepared to agree to allow the Protectorate authorities to raise the tariff rates as a protective measure against cut-throat competition from abroad, provided it were done uniformly to all nations and without any discrimination.

Pierrepont Moffat