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

No. 2301

Sir: In continuation of the Embassy’s despatch No. 2261 of October 26, 1935,18 with respect to customs privileges for American educational and philanthropic institutions in Syria and the Lebanon, I have the honor to transmit herewith, in copy and translation, a note dated November 8, 1935, from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, wherein inquiry is made as to whether it would not be possible to enter into an informal exchange of views concerning an ultimate settlement of the situation about which the American Government complains.

An officer of the Embassy has just received verbal information from the competent official of the Foreign Office, M. Chauvel, to the effect that the note was prepared prior to October 26, the date of the Embassy’s despatch under reference, and that it was forwarded to the Embassy merely to complete the Ministry’s files in the matter. He added that no action would seem to be necessary with respect to its contents prior to the receipt of information from High Commissioner de Martel, outlining any conversations which he may have recently had with the head of the American missions in the territories involved.

Respectfully yours,

Jesse Isidor Straus

The French Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the American Embassy

By note No. 1414 dated August 19, 1935, the Embassy of the United States of America informed the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that the United States Government, although contesting the principle of the decision taken by the High Commissariat of France at Beirut with regard to exemption from customs duty in favor of American institutions in the Levant, did not wish to embarrass the mandatory authority’s fiscal regime and would examine in a friendly spirit any reasonable proposal submitted to it with a view to the settlement of the matter.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs thanks the Embassy for this communication, and has the honor to state that an informal exchange of views would appear to it to offer opportunity to determine the nature of the accord to be arrived at. Should the Embassy share this opinion, the Sub-Division of Africa-Levant would place itself at the disposal of the person charged with discussing the matter with it.

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