611.5131/1646: Telegram

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

1067. Rueff13 called on me today and said that he had just come from a conference with Spinasse and Rist14 at which they had decided that the French Government should attempt to reach an agreement with the Governments of the United States and Great Britain to [Page 95]reduce quotas, embargoes and embargo tariffs on a most-favored-nation basis to all nations which did not maintain exchange restrictions while refusing to extend most-favored-nation treatment to nations which maintain exchange restrictions. He stated that this proposal had not yet been adopted officially by the French Government but expressed belief that the French Government would adopt it.

I mentioned to him the fact that Labonne, who is now in charge of economic matters in the Quai d’Orsay, had said to me that he believed the French Government would not do much in the way of further reductions of barriers to international trade; that on the contrary he believed French policy in the future would be to develop the resources of the French Empire within high tariff walls.

Rueff said that the policy that Labonne had described was that of the Ministry of the Colonies but he believed emphatically the French Government finally would attempt to work with us and the British for a general reduction of restrictions to international trade.

He said however, that he, Spinasse and Rist, all felt that it was necessary to organize now as soon as possible some concrete program to follow the monetary accord. He felt that for that reason most serious and general discussions between the French, British, and ourselves were desirable. He said that as the question would be one of inventing a general policy of the broadest scope he hoped that, if possible, Doctor Feis15 might be able to make a casual visit to Paris and London in the course of the next 3 weeks.

Rueff said that he expected the position of the French Government to be defined within 2 weeks and promised to inform me as soon as anything definite had been decided. Rueff incidentally informed me that he had declined positively to take the post of Director of Commercial Accords which had been offered him as reported in my telegram No. 991, October 12, 6 p.m.16

I should of course be delighted personally as well as officially to have Doctor Feis in Paris at any time.

Bullitt
  1. Jacques Rueff, assistant director of the general administration of funds, French Ministry of Finance.
  2. Dr. Charles Rist, President of the French Interministerial Commission for Customs Revision.
  3. Herbert Feis, Economic Adviser, Department of State.
  4. Not printed.