381.81/321: Telegram

The Acting American Representative to the French Committee of National Liberation (Chapin) to the Secretary of State

490. Department’s 470, February 12, 8 p.m. The NAEB10 at the insistence of CCNA11 has consistently urged French authorities to take all possible measures in North Africa to commercialize resources of wheat and olive oil which are often hoarded by native producers. In so urging, however, there was no intention of endorsing procedures which are illegal or which give “protectorate authorities certain rights contrary to treaty”. At no time have methods of commercializing Moroccan olive oil been discussed at the Combined Food Committee and NAEB and this Mission were unaware until receipt of Casablanca’s telegram No. 10 to the Department of February 3 [4], 5 p.m.12 of any difficulties which may have involved contravention of American treaty rights in Morocco. Moreover the Allied authorities have never taken action to requisition production in French North Africa since such production is under control of the French authorities.

NAEB feels strongly, however, that all conservation measures for wheat and edible oils are essential and that it would have unfortunate repercussions if all producers in French Morocco were not treated alike. Accordingly it is suggested that our consular authorities in [Page 513]Morocco might be informed that while they should naturally insist to the French authorities on maintenance of our treaty rights, every effort should be made consistent therewith to insure that American protégés comply with measures taken in interest of the common war effort and that such measures can not constitute a precedent.

With respect to third paragraph in Casablanca’s telegram under reference NAEB points out that edible oil actually consumed in all territories normally considered as French North Africa has always been in excess of production and that present plans contemplate that it will continue to be. 1500 tons of peanut oil were imported during the last months of 1943 from French West Africa. The food situation in French Morocco is in any event appreciably better than that obtaining in Algeria and Tunisia.

Chapin
  1. North Africa Economic Board.
  2. Combined Committee of North Africa.
  3. See last paragraph of telegram 32, February 4, from Casablanca, p. 507.