681.003/128: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Straus) to the Secretary of State

42. Reference Embassy’s telegram 14, January 7, 7 p.m.,18 Marriner19 and Williamson20 had a long 20conference yesterday with St. Quentin,21 de la Baume22 and representatives of the French Department of Commerce on Moroccan commerce questions setting forth the considerations contained in Department’s instruction 669, December 18, last year23 as modified by its telegram No. 11, January 9, 8 p.m.

St. Quentin pointed out that he regretted the American complaints of past discrimination and fears for the future; that the present tariff changes and the project for the institution of quotas in Morocco are designed for the benefit of the Protectorate government and are not [Page 956] discriminatory in favor of France which is to be treated on the same plane as all other nations. He said that the tariff alterations are intended to insure larger revenues to the Protectorate and consist in the raising of the tariffs from an average of approximately 12½ per cent to an average of approximately 15 per cent.

The institution of quotas, he said, is contemplated for entirely different reasons from those prevailing in France since there is extremely little home industry to protect. They are being set up partly on British initiative to correspond with a system initiated in British African colonies destined to protect the British textile industry against Japanese dumping which has grown to enormous proportions in all of this area during the last few years as well as to conserve the normal trade of all those nations long established in the Moroccan market. The global quotas are to be based on the trade for the last corresponding period for which statistics are complete, that is, initially for 1933 and subsequently for 1934. The allocation of these quotas by individual countries will be in accordance with the respective country’s share in the trade during the years 1928 to 1938 inclusive. In other words: the global quotas are to be established for years including the influx of Japanese goods but the assignment of country allocations of these totals is to be based on years before Japanese trade increased to unusual proportions.

When it was objected that the institution of a quota system gave no elasticity or possibility for the expansion of trade in a country where consumption might be expected to be on the increase de la Baume pointed out that these quotas were considered as temporary measures and that in certain instances probably with respect to automobiles the global quotas would be increased at once over the highest consumption hitherto thus benefiting all nations having shares in it.

With respect to the question of the principle involved under the Act of Algéciras24 and other treaties the French representatives said that they are faced with a practical question and are dealing with it in a practical manner leaving aside for future discussion all political questions. They felt no necessity for discussing the capitulations, their advantages or disadvantages, at this time. However the French Government is maintaining the principles set forth in the Act of Algéciras and is at present in negotiation with all the signatories thereof excepting Soviet Russia which, it was stated specifically gave up at the time of the French recognition25 the benefit of all treaties signed by the Czarist Government and Germany and Austria whose treaty rights were annulled at the time of the signature of the peace treaties.

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As stated negotiations on tariff and quota matters are at present under way with all other signatories and an agreement with Great Britain is ready to be signed within the next few days. The French are willing to conclude similar agreements with all the other signatories including the United States.

The import quotas contemplated would cover the following products: (1) cotton fabrics; (2) natural silk fabrics; (3) artificial fabrics (rayon); (4) iron and steel, articles made thereof, machinery; (5) automobiles and spare parts; (6) inner tubes and casings; (7) refined sugar; (8) cement.

The texts of the French memoranda26 regarding the bases for negotiation will be forwarded by pouch.

  1. Not printed.
  2. J. Theodore Marriner, Counselor of Embassy in France.
  3. Harold L. Williamson, Second Secretary of Embassy in France.
  4. René Doynet Saint Quentin, Chief, Department of African and Levantine Affairs, French Foreign Office.
  5. R. de la Baume, Chief, Commercial Affairs Department, French Foreign Office.
  6. Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. ii, p. 876.
  7. For text of the General Act of the International Conference of Algéciras, signed April 7, 1906, see Foreign Relations, 1906, pt. 2, p. 1495.
  8. October 28, 1924.
  9. See infra.