The Consul General at Casablanca (Goold) to the Secretary of State

No. 281

Sir: With reference to Mr. Stanton’s despatch No. 263 of December 5th, last11 (files nos. 600/610.21/610.22), regarding the Protectorate’s foreign trade control, in which mention was made of the fact that applications for the importation of automotive vehicles must be approved both by the Army and by the Public Works Department, I have the honor to report that, according to several local representatives of American automotive exporters, the following temporary quotas have been established for American trucks or truck chassis (for mounting locally-built truck and bus bodies) for the year ending September 30th next:

Quarter Number of
truck chassis
October to December 1939 282
January to March 1940 302
April to June 1940 202
July to September 1940 202
Total 988

The quota practically equals the average annual registration of imported trucks, including busses, during the three calendar years preceding the War, which is shown in the following table:

1936 885
1937 1,148
1938   950
Average 994

The allotment includes both gasoline and gasogene vehicles, since Public Works is endeavoring to promote the use of the second type to utilize fuel produced in this country. It is not necessarily confined to American vehicles, as arrangements have been made that imports of French, British or other non-American units during any quarter will be deducted from the “American” total for the ensuing quarter, but it is expected that it will be filled almost entirely, if not entirely, by exports from the United States for the reasons that American trucks are still preferred in this area, that present French military demands apparently preclude the prospect of obtaining truck chassis from France, and that the opportunity for importing British chassis does not appear to be much better, even though purchases from the Franc-Sterling Union are favored by the Foreign Exchange Control over [Page 779] orders placed in countries outside of that monetary combination. At present there is an actual shortage of trucks, the Army having requisitioned some 3,000, plus about 1,000 passenger cars, at the outbreak of hostilities, as indicated in the report entitled “French Moroccan Automotive Vehicle Registration Estimates for January 1, 1940”, dated December 29th12 (File No. 866.16). The real limitations are the shortage of dollar exchange and the interruptions to shipping service from the United States.

The allotment has been divided among local importers on the basis of their average receipts during the past several years, but the recent acquisition by a single company of the representation of a substantial number of leading American makes has given one Casablanca importer (Société France-Auto) more than half the total.

Patently, the establishment of the quota system and the theoretical priority accorded to French and British automotive interests are not consistent with the principle of the Moroccan Open Door—the policy of freedom of economic opportunity without any inequality. Even though local distributors do not anticipate much difficulty in keeping the market for American trucks during the prospectively near future, these violations of the principle are worth reporting—especially as they constitute modifications far more important commercially than the “free” sale of Moroccan gasoline discussed in my despatch No. 276 of January 11th, last13 (File No. 869.6).

Respectfully yours,

Herbert S. Goold
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not found in Department files.
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