681.003/81: Telegram

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

11. Your 13, November 11, 6 p.m. Department desires to reaffirm position taken in telegram number 9 of November 6, 6 p.m., particularly emphasizing paragraph 2 to the effect that the French, as we see it, are asking us to give up the principle of the open door in favor of a system of contingents, and will seek to effect a close bilateral balancing of trade between Morocco and the United States.

With respect to Ponsot’s inquiry regarding our attitude as to the alleged express tariff clause enjoyed by Great Britain, Spain and France, this Government sees nothing to be gained at this stage by entering into a discussion of the various treaties and conventions which form the basis of our commercial rights in Morocco.

We have given careful consideration to your suggestion regarding quotas. Quota systems are inherently discriminatory and the institution [Page 860] of such a system in Morocco would in all probability constitute a violation of the principle of commercial equality in Morocco as guaranteed in the treaties. In lieu thereof we would rather see, in case some modification of the present régime becomes necessary, a reasonable increase in the customs rates for revenue purposes, provided the rates were uniform, void of discrimination and agreed to by the powers signatory to the Act of Algeciras.

For your confidential information the Netherland Chargé d’Affaires has advised the Department that his Government, as a signatory of the Algeciras Convention, would not accept the new régime proposed by the French, and indicated that they would agree only to a uniform raise in tariff rates as a last concession.

In your conversations it is suggested that you discreetly intimate to Ponsot that this meeting was arranged by him, and that you are desirous of receiving full information for your Government regarding the eventual plans of the French in Morocco.