781.003/55: Telegram

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

485. Your No. 759 of December 7, 7 p.m. You should present the following memorandum marked confidential to the Foreign Office:

“The United States Government welcomes the opportunity given it by the memorandum of the Foreign Office to outline its views relative to the means by which the United States and Great Britain, signatories of the General Act of Algeciras, may collaborate in preserving in Morocco the principle of equality of treatment which the American Government has always regarded as the cornerstone of that Act.

The Government of the United States, in fact, attaches such importance to the maintenance of the principle of economic liberty without any inequality in Morocco that it contemplates making particular provision for the continued application of that principle in a proposed convention with France having to do with the renunciation of American extraterritorial rights in Morocco. For the better assurance thereof it is proposed to include in that convention a statement of general principles in definition of equality of treatment conforming in its general lines, with such modification as subsequent economic developments have appeared to make necessary, with a similar definition which was accepted by His Majesty’s Government, along with the French and Spanish Governments, in 192438 as one of the conditions of the adherence of the American Government to the Tangier Statute.

While the United States Government has not modified its view that the imposition of quotas and the introduction of similar restrictive systems are a hindrance to that normal and free development of international trade most conducive to the upbuilding of world economy, it is willing to take into account those circumstances where the establishment of quotas may be found of a compelling and exceptional nature. In the definition under reference provision has been made for the possible establishment of quotas in Morocco by the following tentative draft paragraph:

‘That no import or export prohibition, restriction, or license system, including import or customs quotas and other forms of quantitative regulations affecting the importation, sale or use of imported articles, shall be applied to articles originating in or destined for the United States of America which is other or more burdensome than that applied to the like articles originating in or destined for any other country; and that if a share of the total permitted importations of any article is allotted to any other country, a share equivalent to the proportion of the total permitted importations of such article which was supplied by the United States of America during a previous representative period shall be allotted to the United States of America.’

The French Government has not recently approached the United States Government with any suggestions for the introduction of quotas in Morocco. At the same time, this Government would naturally be interested in and concerned with any arrangements which might be reached relating to quotas in the pending negotiations between [Page 875] the British and French Governments which might materially affect the trade interests of the United States in Morocco.

His Majesty’s Government will doubtless appreciate that within the brief time afforded and in the absence of any concrete proposals from the French Government it is difficult for the Government of the United States to formulate any more definite general policy than that which has been briefly indicated above.

However the United States Government, prompted by the spirit of frankness manifested in the courteous memorandum of His Majesty’s Government, is moved to present certain further considerations which it is believed might appropriately be taken into account in the light of any quota proposals which may be made by the French Government in connection with the respective negotiations of the latter with the United States and Great Britain concerning Morocco.

It will be appreciated that the position of the United States Government in respect of quotas in general and with reference to Morocco in particular is different from that of His Majesty’s Government. The United States Government, however, has no wish to appear obstructive in the matter. If, notwithstanding the position the United States has assumed in respect of quotas not alone in Morocco but elsewhere in the world, the adoption of a quota system on a limited list of articles is looked upon with favor by other interested governments, the United States would not unnaturally expect to be consulted in connection with the selection of those articles to which quotas are to be applied and with the determination of the representative period to govern commodities in which American trade enjoys an appreciable share.

Moreover, it would appear desirable to consider whether the establishment of different representative periods for the quotas of different commodities entering into Moroccan trade might not better serve the interests of the countries most concerned than the establishment of a single representative period for all commodities in respect of which quotas may be contemplated. In the event different representative periods should be established for different commodities, the principal interest of the United States, in the determination of the period to govern textile or other quotas in which the United States enjoys only a subsidiary share of the trade, would be that of assuring that the United States was not deprived of the share of trade which it has enjoyed in the past or which it might reasonably expect to share in the future. In any case the United States Government would hope to count upon that fruitful collaboration which His Majesty’s Government has so courteously proposed and which the United States as warmly welcomes.”

In presenting the foregoing to the Foreign Office you may inform the interested officials verbally that the general principle of economic equality which it is proposed to embody in the capitulations convention of this Government with the French Government is expected to be supplemented by a commercial convention, details concerning both of which are being forwarded to you in a few days.

Please keep the Department informed by telegraph of the views of the Foreign Office and of the progress of the negotiations between [Page 876] the British and French Governments, including in particular the proposals which may be made relative to the establishment of quotas.

  1. See note of July 11, 1924, to the British Chargé, and replies from the British, French, and Spanish Governments, Foreign Relations, 1924, vol. ii, pp. 459470.