851.4061 Motion Pictures/449: Telegram

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

614. Embassy’s 1352, September 12, noon.

1. A representative of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc. has informed the Department that the motion picture companies are anxious to do everything possible to keep their pictures on the screens of France, particularly because [Page 720]they keep before the public in unoccupied France the American way of life. It is obviously to the advantage of this Government to have the people of France continue to see such pictures.

Motion picture companies also point out that the rights of these films are vested in the New York companies and have never been transferred to the French Branches and if these films are confiscated the French Government will have confiscated American property.

Companies also inquire what reasons the French authorities have given, if any, for the decision to ban American films.

2. As indicated in the Department’s no. 501 of August 13, 1942,21 we would as a minimum, of course, expect to make vigorous formal representations against the proposed action and reserve all of our legal rights in the matter pursuant to the pertinent terms of the trade agreement.

3. We have been considering what counter-measures might be taken. Since our imports from France are now largely cut off anyway, termination, or threat thereof, by us of the trade agreement might not do any good; on the other hand, the increased rates of duty resulting from termination would affect adversely our trade with third countries. The Department would appreciate receiving your suggestions as to action which in your opinion might be effective. Meanwhile you may continue, in your discretion, to do what you can to forestall the proposed prohibition.

Welles
  1. Not printed.