851.5151/1701: Telegram

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

160. From Cochran.5 Reference final paragraph my No. 158, January 29, noon.6 At 5:00 o’clock I was received by Marchandeau, Minister of Finance. Rueff7 was present. The Minister expressed his genuine appreciation of Secretary Morgenthau’s statement to the press in regard to France and the Tripartite [Agreement]. Rueff showed the Minister a cablegram just received from French Financial Attaché in the United States giving a very favorable report of the Treasury interview. The Minister asked if we had any objection to his giving this account of the interview to the French press. I said that there was certainly no objection to disseminating any public statements so long as they were recorded accurately and attributed properly.

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Since I had no official text of the Treasury interview the Minister asked that I endeavor to obtain one. If the Treasury provides me with this by cable the French will compare the text with that received from Beaulieu and then decide whether the Ministry should give any communication thereon to the press. (After leaving the Minister Rueff said confidentially he doubted advisability of any new communiqué since story has already been carried with considerable benefit to the franc and anything further might lessen the good effect. Still he wants our text if possible.)

The Minister said there had been no change in policy since he talked with me on Tuesday (see my 140, January 25, 6 p.m.8). He intends to continue faithful to the Tripartite [Agreement] and on Monday will make a public statement as President of the General Council of the Marne in defense of his monetary policy.

The Minister said that some newspapers had been inclined to interpret the American Treasury interview as involving material assistance to France.

He proceeded to sound me out as to prospect of such material assistance through for example a loan floated on the American market in behalf of an “entirely independent body such as the city of Paris.” I told him my purely personal idea was that such an operation was entirely out of the question since, aside from lack of appetite on the part of American market for foreign loans, the spirit of the Johnson law9 would be contravened by any attempt of the city of Paris, heavily indebted to the French Treasury, to borrow on our market in present circumstances.

Upon leaving the Minister, Rueff thanked me for disillusioning Marchandeau. Rueff said that he had already tried to convince the Minister of the impossibility of any American loan but wanted me to back him up as I had on previous occasions with other Ministers of Finance. Rueff asked that I not communicate this matter further and seek no official instructions thereon, so I just mention this as an incident of possible interest.

Both the Minister and Rueff assured me that there is no change in French monetary policy under consideration. I asked Rueff alone whether he agreed with my belief that the Senate would throw out the present Government if it attempted to get through a law establishing exchange control. He did. [Cochran.]

  1. H. Merle Cochran, First Secretary of Embassy in France, charged with special duties in matters relating to the Treasury Department and the French Ministry of Finance.
  2. Not printed; the passage under reference stated that the French Minister of finance desired to see the American Ambassador at 5 o’clock that afternoon (801.5151/1700).
  3. Jacques Rueff, Director General of the General Administration of Funds, French Ministry of Finance.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Act approved April 13, 1934; 48 Stat. 574. See also Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. i, pp. 525 ff.