611.5131/1653: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State 20

63. With reference to Spinasse’s conversations with Acting Commercial Attaché in Paris, Bullitt again reported on November 2121 that the reductions in trade barriers contemplated by the French were limited to minor quota liberalizations, and that individual Ministries seemed to be waiting for requests from us for relief to specific commodities.

We replied to Bullitt yesterday22 that if the French Government is really in earnest in its desire to abolish barriers to American trade it can easily put its finger on those restrictions which cause our trade its greatest difficulties. Inasmuch as it seemed that the French were trying to put us in a position of seeking favors which we would be called on sooner or later to reciprocate, we did not think it wise to come forward with requests to individual Ministries for modification in customs or other treatment affecting specific commodities. Moreover, we wish to avoid the charge of seeking benefits for particular American interests and not for others. We suggest however that Bullitt discuss with the French the broader issues intimating that they might abolish or reduce license taxes and reduce duties on quota items.

  1. The Secretary of State was attending the Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace, Buenos Aires, as Chairman of the U. S. delegation; see vol. v, pp. 3 ff.
  2. Embassy’s telegram No. 1137, not printed.
  3. Department’s telegram No. 490, December 2, 6 p.m., not printed.