681.003/180

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Bingham ) to the Secretary of State

No. 1359

Sir: I have the honor to report, as of possible interest, that during a recent visit to convey the substance of the Department’s instruction No. 772 of March 27, 1935,65 concerning the question of surrender of capitulations in the Spanish zone of Morocco, the Foreign Office made the following remarks concerning the modification of the customs regime in the French zone.

The Foreign Office had received both from Paris and Morocco “indications” that the French Government had decided to abandon its efforts to bring about the modification of the customs regime. The Foreign Office asked whether the Embassy had heard anything in this particular relation, and the Embassy replied that it had not.

Though the Foreign Office did not state the precise nature of the “indications” of a change in French policy, it said that no information on the subject had come direct from the French and that, therefore, officially the situation remains unaltered since the exchange of notes between the two Governments on January 29. (See the Embassy’s telegram No. 41 of January 30, 5 p.m.)

As to the reasons for such a change in French policy, the Foreign Office said that the possible explanations which had been suggested were the opposition of other countries, such as the United States, the possible opposition in Morocco to measures which would increase the cost of living, or a combination of both. Though there might, of course, be other causes, such as those arising in French domestic politics, the Foreign Office thought that the two mentioned above seemed at present the most plausible.

The Foreign Office said that it would be grateful for any information which the Embassy might receive which would cast any light on the subject.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Ray Atherton

Counselor of Embassy
  1. Post, p. 1016.