The Chargé in the Dominican Republic (Atwood) to the Secretary of State

No. 3617

Sir: Referring to the Legation’s despatch No. 3597 of November 2, 1936, in further relation to the representations made to the Dominican Government, under the Department’s instructions, with a view to securing most-favored-nation treatment here for American products similar in character to those specified in the Franco-Dominican trade agreement recently concluded, I have the honor to inform the Department that this morning I had a conversation with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on the subject.

I asked the Secretary of Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the numerous shipments of American products, such as confectionery, etc., for the Christmas trade, which are now arriving here, he could give me any information as to when a decision might be expected regarding the application of most-favored-nation treatment to American products similar in character to those specified by brands or makes in the Franco-Dominican trade agreement. Señor Bonetti Burgos informed me that the position taken by the Dominican Treasury Department, as reported in the Legation’s despatch No. 3546 of October 2 last, was still being reconsidered by the Consultative Commission of the Foreign Office, but that he expected that the Commission would make a decision shortly, and that he hoped to give me a definite reply concerning the Dominican Government’s position in the matter within a few days.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs then went on to cover the same general ground concerning the Dominican Government’s attitude towards the matter as has already been reported in previous despatches. He said that it was the firm intention of the Dominican Government scrupulously to respect the letter and spirit of the Dominican-American Modus Vivendi of 1924 and, where possible, to grant to American products such most-favored-nation treatment as would not be in conflict with his Government’s interpretation of the Franco-Dominican trade agreement.

In this relation, Señor Bonetti Burgos said that the Dominican Treasury Department was strictly enforcing the provisions of the Franco-Dominican trade agreement as regards the preferential treatment to be given specified brands or makes of certain French products and that any French product entering the Republic which did not carry a brand or trade name exactly as specified in the Agreement was charged the full rate of internal revenue tax on the product.

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Señor Bonetti Burgos also referred spontaneously to the substantial decline in American exports to the Dominican Republic in recent years, which he attributed chiefly to Japanese competition. He stated that it was the intention of the Dominican Government to take steps to restrict imports of Japanese products inasmuch as Japan was purchasing practically nothing in this country. I took this to mean that the Dominican Government is seeking a bargaining position for possible use in connection with the negotiation of any trade agreement with the United States.

Respectfully yours,

Franklin B. Atwood