681.003/143: Telegram

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

47. Your 79, January 31, 1 p.m., 42, January 15, 6 p.m., and despatch 1529, January 16. Coursier’s reference to recognition of French Protectorate disregards repeated declarations of this Government that recognition did not include adherence to protectorate treaties or any modification of American treaty rights which could be effected only by another treaty with the concurrence of the Senate. Recognition of Protectorate was expressly based on informal note from Secretary of State to French Ambassador, Washington, dated January 2, 1917,42 which declared that “there would remain for further negotiation the question of our capitulatory and other rights in Morocco”. See instruction to Embassy, September 21, 1922,43 copy of which was handed to Foreign Office on October 6, 1922, and copy of instruction to Tangier of September 2, 1926.44

This Government is greatly surprised at the statement in your despatch 1529, January 16, attributed to the Foreign Office representatives, that it is not obligatory to consult the powers regarding tariff changes and that they wished as a matter of courtesy to acquaint the American Government with the plan. We should like to have the Foreign Office furnish an official statement of the grounds on which this view is based. This Government strongly believes that it is obligatory that the parties to the Act of Algéciras should not only be consulted but that each power should acquiesce before any changes are made in the customs regime in Morocco.

We seriously doubt the correctness of the statement of the belief that the tariff alterations on the whole would be found advantageous to American trade, attributed also to the Foreign Office representatives, since at least four of this country’s exports to Morocco, representing [Page 966] approximately one-half of our total trade, including the major item automobiles, would be placed under quota, with a sharp increase in duty on automobiles.

In reply to the statement attributed to the French in your 42, January 15, to the effect that the French Government, in the establishment of the new regime, is maintaining the principles set forth in the Act of Algéciras, you should reiterate and emphasize the third paragraph of the Department’s 669, December 18, 1934.