611.5131/1736: Telegram

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

1063. Reference last paragraph our 1062, July 27, 9 p.m., the Director of Commercial Accords stated to Reagan that in his view the primary requirement under present conditions for the marketing of American fruit here is the suspension of the license tax while of course at the same time efforts should be made to correct the license system so as to place the licenses in the hands of the real importers. He stated that for political reasons it would be impossible for the Minister of Agriculture to suppress immediately and permanently the license taxes. He believed that the best solution would be for the French Government to suspend the license taxes on apples and pears as from a specified period this fall until the conclusion of the current season, that is until June 30. He indicated that the dates of October 31 for pears and November 30 for apples might be utilized as an “out” for the Minister of Agriculture vis-à-vis local agricultural and political pressure on the argument that the agreement permits him to increase these taxes by 50% from July 1 until the dates cited; that while he had not employed this power he had under consideration the taxes at the actual level during these periods and that having afforded this protection to the French producers during the most urgent period of their marketing he would be justified in suspending the taxes thereafter in order to facilitate the utilization of this quota thereby preventing a repetition of last year’s fiasco. At the same time the French Government should give definite assurance to our Government that the licenses will be distributed among those who are qualified as real importers. He stated that he intended to recommend the foregoing program immediately to the Minister of Commerce and to the Minister of Finance.

I request that the foregoing be kept as strictly confidential.