781.003/45: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

608. Embassy’s 598, September 18, 2 p.m.22 I had a further conversation yesterday at the Foreign Office regarding the projected agreement for the protection of British commercial rights and interests in Morocco. From this conversation the following points emerged.

The British do not consider that any commercial or economic rights which they possessed under previous treaties have been in the legal sense impaired in the slightest degree by the Anglo-French Agreement for Abolition of Capitulations in Morocco.
The British recognize, however, that due to the changed conditions brought about by the Capitulations Agreement that there is little practical hope of reaching an agreement in the commercial and economic sphere which will leave unimpaired the old British status in Morocco.
Board of Trade has not yet formulated concrete proposals for their negotiations with the French. They contemplate, however, that the institution of some form of quota provisions is only possible way to protect their textile trade in Morocco.
They do not know what guarantees the French can give which would be considered as satisfactory in respect to “equality of treatment” of French and English goods. They expect to get at least most favored nation treatment as regards any third power in Morocco but they are not hopeful that they will be able to preserve in fact equality of treatment with French goods. The official expressed no illusion as to the desire of the French to give their own commerce and economic penetration a more favorable position than that of any other country and he is not sure that it will be possible to prevent it.
They do not expect to give to the French during these negotiations anything which can possibly be avoided but they are prepared to recognize that abolition of the capitulations has produced a new situation of fact which is bound to operate to the advantage of the French.
Foreign Office promised to give me early next week a memorandum23 setting forth as concretely as may be done at the present time precisely what their proposals will be.
I suggested and the Foreign Office official agreed that a frank exchange of information between the two countries in reference to these negotiations might be mutually helpful.
  1. Not printed.
  2. See telegram No. 759, December 7, 7 p.m., from the Chargé in the United Kingdom, p. 872.