851.4061 Motion Pictures/461: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State

4359. Legation has been informed by a Swiss distributor of American films that French customs authorities of Cerbère have since mid-September refused permission to his transport agent there to effect transit to Switzerland of films of American origin. Through same source Legation has now received a copy of a letter dated August 22, 1942 from Ministry of Information, General Director of Motion Pictures, to Minister of National Economy and Finance, General Director of Customs, in which former states that he approves measures proposed by latter under date of August 19 “with regard to transit through France of American films coming from Spain or from Portugal”. Under date of August 28 General Director of Customs Vichy transmitted a copy of above cited letter of August 22 to regional customs directors with instructions that measures cited therein be applied strictly. These instructions as contained in letter of August 19 as cited in that of August 27 are as follows in translation:

“[1] Exportation of exposed motion picture films is subordinated to the visa of the Chief of Information Division or of his delegate (decree of August 27, 1939).

(2) This measure concerns the exportation in all customs categories of such films, it therefore applies to foreign films in transit through French territory.

(3) The General Direction of Motion Pictures having decided to refuse its visa for American films of any nature (newsreels or others) shipped from Spain or from Portugal to Switzerland in direct transit through France such films shall be returned to the country from which they have come without having to be submitted to the visa of the information services.

(4) American films from countries other than Portugal or Spain will not be turned back automatically but will be submitted to the visa of the information services.

This will be the case in particular regarding American films coming from Switzerland and destined to Spain or Portugal.

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(5) Films other than American films will not be returned automatically and will be submitted to preliminary visa of information services whatever may be their country of origin or destination.”