611.5131/1756: Telegram

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

1274. Reference our 1212 August 28, noon.12 Bousquet of the Commercial Section of the Foreign Office has just telephoned a member of my staff and confirmed that the decree reducing the license taxes on apples and pears in accordance with our recent exchange of letters [Page 284] will be published by September 15th at the latest and that the terms of the letters exchanged will become effective on the date of the publication of this decree.

Bousquet stated, however, that although the Ministry of Agriculture had previously agreed to the publication of these letters in the Journal Officiel it is now insisting that no publication be made of these letters as it fears it will have to accord some or all of the terms therein to other countries with whom it is now conducting commercial negotiations. We pointed out informally that in view of our most favored nation treatment policy it was our opinion that our Government would not object to the generalization of the terms of these letters to other countries and furthermore that during the discussions leading up to this exchange of letters we had understood from the French officials that the terms contained in these letters would be generalized to other countries.

We pointed out further that even if the Department agreed to the nonpublication of these letters two difficulties resulting from the nonpublication would have to be overcome: first, when the trade was notified verbally here it was with the reservation set forth in section 3 of our 1188, August 21, 2 p.m., but if this agreement is to be fully effective the trade must be informed of the guarantee of the French Government to deliver licenses within the first 10 days of each quarter; and second it would not appear that the trade can work with full confidence if it does not have the exact terms of the accepted French proposal in writing since it had, in agreement with the French Government officials, been informed that the terms of these letters would be published in the near future.

Bousquet concluded by stating that his Government would have no objection to our informing the trade, after the publication of the decree under reference, of the French Government’s guarantee as to the date of the issuance of licenses. As to the question of making available to the trade the exact terms of the agreement, in writing, Bousquet stated that since the publication in the Journal Officiel had previously been agreed upon by all of the interested Ministries including Agriculture he could not see how his Government could object to the transmission of the precise terms of this agreement in writing by the Embassy to the importers’ groups here and by the Department in Washington to the interested American export group.

I should appreciate instructions by telegraph as to what reply should be made to Bousquet’s request.

  1. Not printed.