Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray)

The French Ambassador called on me by appointment on July 23rd to inform me of the signature on July 18th of the new Anglo-French Treaty of Commerce and Navigation relating to the French Zone of Morocco.43 He said he presumed that a copy of the new treaty had already been furnished the American Embassy in Paris for transmission to the Department44 and that he also would be receiving shortly a copy of that instrument.

The Ambassador offered no explanation of the long delay in the signature of the above treaty which was initialed in Paris last February. In this connection it will be recalled that we have several times endeavored, but without avail, to obtain a copy of the treaty as finally agreed upon and initialed. The British were apparently willing to our receiving a copy of the treaty in advance of signature. The French, however, objected.

In referring to our earlier request that the proposed American-French treaties relating to the termination of American capitulatory rights in Morocco be negotiated in Washington, the Ambassador remarked that, while it would be inconvenient for the French Foreign Office to spare the necessary experts for the time necessary to negotiate the treaties in Washington, he was nevertheless in correspondence with his Government suggesting various legal and other experts to be sent [Page 884]here for that purpose. He mentioned in that connection Mr. Basdevant, one of the Legal Advisers of the Foreign Office, and said there would be perhaps two other experts, one coming from Morocco.

With regard to the time of the negotiations, the Ambassador stated that he is expecting to depart some time in August for a vacation in France, and that he would presumably be returning some time late in October, when he could discuss the most appropriate and convenient time to start negotiations. I told the Ambassador that we would want ample time to study the new Anglo-French Commercial Treaty in view of our expressed desire to negotiate a new treaty of commerce and navigation with France respecting French Morocco at the same time we negotiated the basic treaty terminating our capitulatory rights in that country. Since the French Government will by next October have kept us waiting a whole year to initiate negotiations for these two new treaties, there would appear to be no compelling reason why we should not take ample time, after studying the new Anglo-French Commercial Convention, to prepare the draft treaties which we propose to present to the French as a basis for negotiations.

  1. British Cmd. 5823, Morocco No. 1 (1938): Treaty between His Majesty in respect of the United Kingdom and the President of the French Republic acting on behalf of His Majesty the Sultan of Morocco regarding Commercial Relations between the United Kingdom and the French and Tangier Zones of the Shereefian Empire.
  2. A copy of the treaty was transmitted to the Department by the Embassy in despatch No. 2679, July 26; received August 2.