681.003/115: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Atherton) to the Secretary of State

1. Department’s instruction 647, December 20, 19342 and Embassy’s 633, December 21, 7 p.m.3

Substance of Department’s instruction 669, December 18, 1934 to Paris4 has been communicated orally to Foreign Office. They state that agreement for proposed exchange of notes with France in regard to quotas in Morocco has been completed and initialed but signature and exchange have not yet taken place pending similar agreements to be effected with the Spanish Government in regard to the Spanish Zone in Morocco. I asked if the British Government had seconded any effort of the French at Madrid and if not whether they would be disposed to do so. I received the reply that nothing yet had been done by the British at Madrid but that they would not object to acting with the French in supporting the proposal.
In further elaboration of the British point of view it was stated that the British felt that the proposed exchange of notes could not have any bearing on the treaty rights of the United States or on those of any other power in Morocco for the following reasons:
They are only waiving for a specific purpose and consideration certain rights under their bilateral treaty of 1856 with the Sultan of Morocco,5 and
They have expressly reserved all other treaty rights they may have, whether under the bilateral treaty or under multilateral treaties affecting Morocco to which they are a party.
Spain is the only country having a bilateral treaty with Morocco6 similar to the treaty of 1856 between Great Britain and Morocco.
The Foreign Office pointed out that the compelling reason from their point of view for the negotiation of the proposed agreement with France was to protect in particular British textile exports to Morocco, which through Japanese under-cutting have been reduced in the last 3 years to one-sixth of their former volume.
Astonishment was expressed by the Foreign Office at the allegation reported in the Department’s instruction to Paris (page 4) as coming from Ponsot7 that the Franco-British accord of 19048 has expired. The Foreign Office denied this categorically and stated that neither they nor the French have denounced them. They also expressed astonishment at the suggestion reported to have been made by Ponsot that the United States Government should renounce their extraterritorial rights in Morocco. No such suggestion has been made to the British who would oppose it.
The Foreign Office would appreciate it if the substance of the point of view of the United States, with summary of Ponsot’s views contained in Department’s instruction to Paris might be given them informally in writing. Please instruct.
  1. Not printed; see telegram No. 435, December 20, 1934, to the Chargé in Great Britain, Ibid., p. 880.
  2. Ibid., p. 882.
  3. Ibid., p. 876.
  4. Convention of Commerce and Navigation between Great Britain and Morocco, signed at Tangier, December 9, 1856, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. xlvi, p. 188.
  5. Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Spain and Morocco, signed at Madrid, November 20, 1861, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. liii, p. 1089.
  6. Henri Ponsot, Resident General of French Protectorate of Morocco.
  7. Declaration between Great Britain and France, respecting Egypt and Morocco, signed at London, April 8, 1904, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. xcvii, p. 39.