781.003/31: Telegram

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

1143. Monsieur Henri Coursier, Chief of Division at the “Sousdirection de l’Afrique du Nord” at the Foreign Office called on Mr. Tuck10 yesterday afternoon with regard to the question of the relinquishment by the United States Government of capitulatory rights in Morocco. He reminded Mr. Tuck that he had had an informal talk with Mr. Wilson11 on the subject a short time ago (see Embassy’s telegram 1041, July 24, 4 p.m. 1937). He said that it was the intention [Page 862] of the French Government to begin negotiations with the American Government in the near future looking towards our relinquishing of capitulatory rights in Morocco. He added that he would shortly send for our information a letter containing the text of the Franco-British Agreement signed in London recently. He asked Tuck whether he, Tuck, could inform him as to the intentions of our Government with regard to where such negotiations could be held to the best advantage. Tuck replied that while he was not familiar with the question he presumed that if the French Government intended to bring the matter up it would do so through the French Embassy in Washington. Coursier then told Tuck that the Quai d’Orsay would probably shortly instruct the French Chargé d’Affaires in Washington to suggest negotiations with the Department of State. Coursier expressed personal view that if the American Government consented to such negotiations these could be held to greater advantage in Paris than in Washington since the French Chargé d’Affaires was not familiar with the technicalities of the question.

I have now received the French texts of the French-British Agreement, which is a document of 30 foolscap pages, together with a note saying that it is the intention of the French Government to instruct the French Embassy in Washington to communicate this text to the Government of the United States and to request our efforts to make the same agreement as Great Britain for the abolition of capitulations.

I shall send the text by pouch unless instructed by you to telegraph it.

I venture to suggest once more that it would be in accordance with French diplomatic practice if we were to press for a settlement with regard to the outstanding questions of apples and pears and the Haitian loan12 before agreeing to take up the question of our capitulations in Morocco.

  1. Somerville P. Tuck, First Secretary of Embassy.
  2. Edwin C. Wilson, Counselor of Embassy.
  3. See vol. v, pp. 670 ff