The Chargé in Italy ( Kirk ) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 26—9:47 a.m.]
31. Department’s instruction No. 324, December 24, 1934.34 Department’s views as in the enclosure to the above-mentioned instructions were communicated orally to a Foreign Office official but owing to the fact that the Director of the African Division, with whom the subject of the customs regime in Morocco had been previously discussed, was occupied, first with Laval’s visit and subsequently with the Italo-Abyssinian negotiations at Geneva,35 it has not been hitherto possible to obtain a statement as to the developments in regard to this matter.
The Director of the African Division has now informed me that during the recent Franco-Italian conversation in Rome the question of trade in Morocco was discussed and the French urged strongly the necessity of taking steps to check Japanese commercial penetration in that territory.36 The Italians, I was told, replied that they were not willing to abandon the principles underlying the treaties and conventions affecting the protectorate but that they had finally agreed to discuss with the French the possibility of establishing some system of quotas which would meet the dangers described by the French. This the director added he believed to be in general conformity with the views of the British. I was furthermore informed that no written agreement along these lines was signed by the French and the Italians but that in pursuance of the understanding reached conversations are [Page 963] now being carried out here with a French official who has come to Rome for that purpose. I concluded my conversation with the Director of the African Division by referring again to the views of the United States Government on this matter as outlined in its abovementioned instruction emphasizing the statement contained in the penultimate paragraph of page five of the enclosure.
Not repeated elsewhere.