811.114 St. Pierre-Miquelon/454: Telegram

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

132. Department’s 37, January 25, 7 p.m. Foreign Office has now received a reply from the Ministry of Colonies wherein the latter insists upon the promulgation of two decrees, one approving the resolution of the Administrative Council of the Islands of September 29, 1936, prohibiting the importation of foreign spirits, and one abrogating decree of April 9, 1935,31 except as concerns foreign alcohol now there in storage (see enclosures to Department’s mail instruction No. 18, October 28, 193632).

The Ministry of Colonies gives assurances, however, that a close watch will be kept on imports of alcohol into the islands and that if it appears that importations are exceeding the normal requirements of the islands adequate measures will be taken to restrict them to normal requirements. The Ministry of Colonies also gives assurances that it will not permit the establishment of distilleries.

Foreign Office has promised to endeavor to have the term “foreign” omitted from the second decree and to have prohibition of the establishment of distilleries included in the decree. It says that “alcool de traite” is common alcohol without trade name. It has promised [Page 299] also to obtain a ruling on the Department’s inquiry contained in the penultimate sentence of its 475, November 23, 7 p.m., 1936.33

The Foreign Office has given oral assurances which it has proposed later to embody in a letter to the effect that if we find that smuggling has increased under the proposed decree it will be prepared to urge additional modification upon the Ministry of Colonies. Foreign Office feels, however, that the Ministry of Colonies has ample power to restrict importations to normal requirements and that it will do so. Foreign Office was requested to withhold its reply to Colonies until we could communicate with the Department and it has promised to do so.

When Bonnet34 called on me the other day he asked if there were any unsettled questions which we had up with the French Government as he desired to straighten out any difficulties which might exist before he leaves for Washington. I told him of this matter and of the importance which we attach to preventing smuggling from St. Pierre-Miquelon. He said that he would take the matter up and try to prevent the abrogation of the decree of April 9, 1935.

Bullitt
  1. See note of March 15, 1935, from the French Embassy and telegram No. 344, April 17, 1935, noon, from the Ambassador in France, ibid., 1935, vol. i, pp. 412 and 414, respectively.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. i, p. 434.
  4. Georges Bonnet, appointed French Ambassador to the United States.