The Minister in the Dominican Republic (Schoenfeld) to the Secretary of State

No. 3789

Sir: Referring to previous correspondence regarding the failure of the Dominican Government to accord to American products imported here and similar to certain French products specified in the Franco-Dominican trade agreement of 1936 unconditional most-favored-nation treatment in accordance with the American-Dominican Modus Vivendi of 1924,1 have the honor to inform the Department that, in conversation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs today, Señor Bonetti Burgos spontaneously mentioned this matter.

The Minister said that the Dominican Government was concerned to have the American Government understand clearly that the position taken by the Dominican Government regarding the application of the American Modus Vivendi in this case was by no means discriminatory in intention. The Dominican Government in taking its position in this matter was no less disposed than ever to comply scrupulously with all its obligations to the United States.

The position taken had been based upon a publication issued by the League of Nations regarding unconditional most-favored-nation [Page 434] treatment and was founded upon a juridical interpretation of the most-favored-nation principle which had been reached not only by the Department of State for Foreign Affairs but by the Consultative Commission of the Foreign Office, to which the matter had been submitted.

Nevertheless, in view of an apparent tendency in Washington to attribute to the Dominican Government’s action on this topic purposes which were not in accordance with the Dominican Government’s real intention, and bearing in mind that the specification by manufacturers’ names of the commodities to enjoy preference here under the Franco-Dominican trade agreement had been an initiative of the French Government, the subject was being again submitted to the Consultative Commission of the Foreign Office for further study. The Minister said he hoped in the near future to be able to advise the American Government of the result of this further investigation.

The Minister alluded to the great interest of the Dominican Government in early negotiations for an American-Dominican trade agreement, pointing out that such an agreement would be in the best interest both of the United States and of the Dominican Republic. He spoke of Secretary Hull’s trade agreement policy as one which had the hearty support of the Dominican Government. He referred again, as he has repeatedly before, to Cuban-American trade relations and to the claim of the Dominican Republic for treatment in the American market at least as good as that accorded to Cuba, since the Dominican Republic was bound to the United States by ties in all respects similar to and by no means less significant than those which were responsible for the preferential treatment hitherto given Cuba by the United States. He mentioned, as he has also done before, the reluctance of the Dominican Government to see Japanese goods continue to enter this country in quantity.

I gathered from the spontaneous statements of the Minister of Foreign Affairs that there is some reason to expect that the discrimination against American products entering this market, and similar to French products granted preference under the Franco-Dominican trade agreement, will be lifted in the near future, notwithstanding possible French annoyance.

Respectfully yours,

H. F. Arthur Schoenfeld