394.31/3–1551: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in France 1


4648. For Bruce from Webb. Thorp saw Bonnet Tuesday [March 6] and made points requested in Torquay tel 493, March 2 (rptd Paris 51). I fully endorse approaches indicated Embtel 5172 March 5 (rptd Torquay 19) and urge continuing pressure at high levels.2

  1. Repeated for information to Torquay.
  2. United States representations continued in Paris on March 8 and 9. Action then shifted back to Torquay where the French made new offers on March 13, considered by the United States negotiating team to be much improved but still inadequate with respect to United States requests. On March 15 M. de Montremy, Inspector of Finances of the French Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, arrived in Torquay “under instructions to do his utmost to bring about a satisfactory agreement.” The French made additional offers on March 22. Still under continuing pressure from the United States team (“The Team indicated that although a number of the offers made were good, it believed that the French had not made all of the offers which they could or should make, and requested that the French Delegation review carefully the possibility of making additional offers which would enable the Team to recommend the conclusion of an agreement [to TAC] without withdrawing any of the offers made by the United States”), and in close contact with Ministers in Paris, the French made further and final offers on March 23. These were accepted by the United States (TAC) on March 24. A summary account in some detail of the United States-French negotiation, March 8–23, is included in the Delegation’s Weekly Reports No. 21 (pt. 2), March 20 (394.31/3–2051) and No. 22 (pt. 2), March 27 (394.31/3–2751).

    The Delegation was frank in its final assessment of the French negotiation:

    • “It is difficult to assess the forces at work in the French Delegation and the French Government during these negotiations . . . it is evident that for what M. de Montremy called ‘supérieures’ reasons the [French] Council of Ministers, and particularly Messrs. Petsche and Buron [the incoming Ministers of Finance, and Industry], believed that agreement with the United States was essential to the best political and, perhaps, economic welfare of France. It is doubtful, however, whether a desire for the liberalization of trade per se was a real motivating factor. It is believed that the principal reasons for their desire for an agreement were (1) a belief that it was necessary for France to give evidence of living up to the commitments made in connection with the aid programs and (2) to preserve the friendliest of political relations with the United States.” (Report to the Secretary of State, Torquay Conference, Lot 57 D 284, Box 139)