690D.116/3: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in France (Murphy)

135. Your no. 188, February 9, noon. According to a telegram from the Consulate General in Beirut dated February 17, noon, the Department understands that the French High Commission there has announced that henceforth imports from countries other than British Empire, Egypt, Sudan and Iraq will not be permitted unless payment is accepted in French francs, that the restrictions will apply to all imports, including those ordered before December 3, 1939, the effective date of Syrian trade and exchange control, and that this action is absolutely contrary to assurances previously given to the Consulate General by the High Commission.

Please discuss the above with the appropriate French authorities, stating that without prejudice to the Department’s general position with regard to the treatment of American trade in certain French colonies and mandated areas, the Department considers it particularly important that the French authorities adhere to the assurances given Mr. Palmer that orders for American goods placed prior to December 3, 1939 would be exempted from the exchange and import permit restrictions.