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

The Belgian Ambassador called this morning to say that the French Government had informed the Belgian Government that it was in agreement with Great Britain to introduce a new régime into Morocco which would involve a system of quotas and possibly the raising of tariff rates. As it might be argued that this was inconsistent with the Moroccan treaties, the Belgian Government was asked for its views on instituting a system of quotas. Mr. van der Straaten in turn had received a request to know our attitude. I told him that we had been approached by the French informally some two months ago,30 that we had replied that quotas were in essence discriminatory and were inconsistent with the principle of the Open Door which had been provided for in the Act of Algéciras. We felt that it was important (a) to maintain our stand in favor of the principle of the Open Door, and (b) to fight any system which would constitute a trade barrier. He might therefore count the American Government as opposed to agreeing to this problem and that furthermore the Dutch saw eye to eye [Page 962] with us31 and according to information given us a month or so ago by Rosso,32 the Italians agreed with us. If it appeared that the situation in Morocco was critical and if the French desired to institute a reasonable increase in tariff rates and if this were agreed to by all the signatories33 of the Algéciras Pact and if it were applied without discrimination, then we might be willing to waive our rights to that extent on the theory that this was a normal and non-discriminatory manner of meeting an exceptional situation.

Pierrefont Moffat
  1. See despatch No. 993, November 23, 1934, from the Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Tangier, Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. ii, p. 863.
  2. See despatch No. 135, January 7, 1935, from the Chargé” in the Netherlands, p. 952.
  3. Augusto Rosso, Italian Ambassador in the United States.
  4. Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Morocco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.