The Secretary of State to the Chargé in the United Kingdom (Atherton)
5. Your 1, January 4, 5 p.m. With reference to the British point of view to the effect that the proposed exchange of notes with France with the view of establishing a system of quotas could not have any bearing on the treaty rights of the United States or on those of any other power in Morocco for reasons (a) and (b), please inquire of the British if it is not their understanding that the exchange in question is but the initial step in the establishment in Morocco of a general quota system applicable to different countries in varying degrees, and in such case is it not logical to conclude that very soon all of the nations which trade with Morocco, including those having treaties with most-favored-nation clause, will find themselves in situations where they must individually bargain with France on different commodities in order to carry on any trade with Morocco.
With reference to your paragraph 4 as to possibility of termination of Franco-British agreement of 1904, while Ponsot’s note10 to Laboulaye11 is somewhat ambiguous it contains the following sentence: “The propitious moment for the introduction of the new regime appears to be the first of January, 1935, the date upon which will expire the period of 30 years for which the Franco-British declaration of April 8, 1904, had contemplated the maintenance of the ‘principle of commercial liberty’ both in Morocco and in Egypt.”
With reference your paragraph 5 believe it would be advisable to keep our discussions with the British at this phase on an oral basis.
Please keep Department informed by cable of any new developments.