851.4061 Motion Pictures/449: Telegram

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

1352. Department’s 501, August 13, 10 p.m.17 We learn from the Foreign Office that the Government Commissioner for the Cinema has decided to prohibit the showing of all American films in unoccupied France and overseas possessions as of October 15; that this measure has the approval of the Government and that although hitherto unpublished it can be considered as official. The Foreign Office plans to make one more attempt (we gather with little hope of success) to avert this violation of the 1936 Trade Agreement.18

While this matter is certainly a minor one in the general picture of our relations with the French Government the projected action is a clear-cut treaty violation.

We believe that it would be in line with our policy of opposing all collaborationist tendencies (to say nothing of vigorously protecting American interests) to present the French Government with a program of concrete reprisals in the event the projected measure is given effect. This would give the Foreign Office a stronger argument against the advocates of the measure than the juridical one of [Page 717]treaty violation. Furthermore since we have reason to believe that the real motive of the measure is the personal profit of certain French motion picture interests and that it has only lukewarm German support it is not impossible that vigorous action on our part prior to the promulgation of the measure will result in averting its application.

  1. Not printed; it authorized the Chargé to file official protest with French authorities should they issue an order suppressing American films in unoccupied France (851.4061 Motion Pictures/443).
  2. Signed at Washington May 6, 1936. For text, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 146, or 53 Stat. (pt. 3) 2236; for correspondence regarding this agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. ii, pp. 85 ff.