611.5131/1878: Telegram

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

1608, Department’s telegram No. 635, August 22, 6 p.m. Fullerton20 and Reagan21 conveyed informally to Bousquet,22 this morning the contents of the Department’s memorandum handed to the French Embassy.

Bousquet stated that a telegram is being sent Saint-Quentin23 today consenting to our issuing immediately a public notice of intention to negotiate a revision our trade agreement and suggested that discussions be undertaken at the earliest possible date. Bousquet added that the Foreign Office telegram24 will reiterate that its consent is contingent upon our Government’s agreement to the French Government’s proposal for the inclusion of provisions in the revised agreement of a formula permitting subsequent negotiations looking towards the adjustment of French customs duties now bound under the existing agreement in the event that the French Government subsequently undertakes a complete revision of its present tariff.

Bousquet stated that it is his understanding that the list of items for which renewed or additional concessions from the United States will be considered by our Government during the envisaged negotiations contains practically all items of interest to the French Government but that there may be a few other items for which it may subsequently request consideration. (In view of this statement the Embassy officials naturally made no reference to the Department’s views as contained in the penultimate paragraph of the Department’s telegram under reference).

Bousquet said that the major items not now included in schedule 4 and for which the French Government desire special consideration are those in the former Czech agreement in which they were especially interested but that, of course, renewed concessions on these latter items [Page 495]may be automatically accorded France if included in the revised Belgian-American agreement to be negotiated.

Accordingly, Bousquet gave it as his opinion that the revision of our agreement with France will, with regard to the number of items affected, be rather limited. He confirmed the previous position taken by his Government with regard to possible new or enlarged concessions which may be accorded to the United States, namely, that these will be confined to increases in quotas allotted to the United States (whether or not included in our existing agreement), the removal of some commodities from the list of exemptions to the most favored nation clause but no additional duty consolidations and in principle no additional duty reductions. He added informally, however, that during the negotiations consideration might be given to reductions in “one or two items” merely as a gesture.

Bousquet confirmed the information transmitted in the Embassy’s telegram No. 1496, August 16, 5 p.m.,25 and added that it is the intention of the French Government under such general revision of its tariff to remove few if any agricultural products from quota control and that the duty increases will probably, in general, not exceed 20% with some few exceptions of 25 to 35%.

Bullitt
  1. Hugh H. Fullerton, First Secretary of Embassy in France.
  2. Daniel J. Reagan, Commercial Attaché in France.
  3. Raymond Charles Bousquet of Commercial Section, French Foreign Office.
  4. Count de Saint-Quentin, French Ambassador in the United States.
  5. Substance transmitted to the Department by the French Embassy in aide-mémoire of August 29, not printed.
  6. Not printed.