681.003/159: Telegram

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

171. The contents of the Department’s telegram No. 61 of February 19, 7 p.m. was informally communicated to the French Government. At the same time it was pointed out that the quota system is the most obnoxious portion of the contemplated economic reforms in Morocco and that before the Department’s views are officially communicated it might be to French advantage to endeavor to arrive at a formula whereby the quota system were abandoned.

After some days of study and consultation the French representative replied that the French Government was too definitely committed [Page 973] to the British Government on the subject of quota protection to withdraw that portion of its project. He asked that the Department reconsider its objections in the light of the alleged circumstances (1) that the quotas are not as normally is the case restrictive but on the contrary are designed to protect the established trade of the countries signatory to the Treaty of Algéciras and (2) that if the United States accepts the French authorities will do their utmost in consultation with us to render the quota system unobjectionable and (3) that a general arrangement may be entered into as in the case of the British in which our interests may be considered and sympathetic study given to many of the complaints enclosed with the Department’s instruction No. 708 of January 15, 1935.55

The French official was informed that even were our interests considerably benefited we should still be opposed as a matter of principle to the quota system. He responded that we are “the only country adopting other than a utilitarian view of the matter”. This and other more definite remarks indicate that whether or not we assent the French Government is determined to put the reforms into effect.

  1. See footnote 39, p. 963.