851.4061 Motion Pictures/452: Telegram

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

1519. Department’s 614, October 6, 9 p.m. As the date of execution of the measure banning American films (October 15) was approached, we addressed a formal note to Laval on October 2, citing the effective and projected violations of the provision contained in Schedule [III] Ex 469 quater, note (c) of the 1936 Trade Agreement and reserving the rights of our Government to take appropriate measures of reprisal unless the restrictions already applied to the transit and those contemplated for the showing of American films were not revoked.

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According to a friendly Foreign Office official the following are the surprisingly favorable results of a stormy meeting of representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Information which took place on October 10:

Complete agreement that the ban on the showing of American films be not applied in North Africa.
Agreement in principle subject to ratification by “Higher Authority” that:
The ban on the showing of American films be indefinitely postponed.
That in the matter of transit (which was the subject of a stiff protest parallel in course by the Swiss Legation here) the German demand be acceded to only in so far as newsreels and short subjects are concerned but that feature pictures instead of being turned back be submitted to Vichy for “censorship”. In practice, we are assured, the majority would reach their destination.

It is possible that the measures outlined in the last paragraph will not be ratified although the Foreign Office is hopeful of their final acceptance. If they are not we shall return to the question of concrete reprisals.