881.00/7–445: Telegram

No. 665
The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State


4012. Contents of Dept’s 3049, July 2, 7 p.m.1 regarding Soviet approach on Tangier conversations were communicated by Villard yesterday to Meyrier of French Foreign Office who took exception to statement that Amer Govt had been requested to participate in discussions by British and French Govts and had consented to do so on condition that Soviet Govt be informed. Meyrier pointed out that meeting had been joint arrangement on Brit and Amer initiative and stated that any other description placed French Govt in an embarrassing position.

In an extended conversation which then followed Meyrier told Villard that if the Soviet Govt was admitted to the conversations it would be necessary to invite all the other powers interested in Tangier Statute. He said that the Belgian Govt had already asked that it be allowed to participate. Meyrier went on to declare that the Brit draft proposal2 was entirely unacceptable to the French and that it was out of the question to use it as a basis of discussions. He said privately that he had prepared a French proposal under which the US would be admitted temporarily to participate in committee of control and legislative assembly by Dahir of the Sultan with all American rights safeguarded pending formal revision of the statute. Meyrier said that rather than discuss the fundamental changes in the statute embodied in the Brit draft agreement he would prefer to have the whole question of Spanish occupation and interim regime for Tangier left to permanent court of international justice. He even intimated as one solution that France should be allowed to deal directly with the Spanish Govt and settle the interim problem between themselves.

It is the belief of the Amer delegation that the French Govt will be willing to accede to Soviet request for participation provided that [Page 995] the decision be a joint Amer Brit and French affair. It is evident that the answer by [to?] the Soviets depends wholly on Brit decision. Meyrier believes that if an invitation is extended the Soviet Govt could be given say eight days to send a representative to the meeting and that discussions could commence promptly on the date set whether or not Soviet representative is present. He would anticipate no difficulty with other interested powers except Spain and Italy, but believes that Soviet participation might drag out discussions for a period of several months.