394.31/9–351: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State


1416. Deptel 1321, Aug 31.1 Bonsai today had discussion with Charpentier along lines Deptel 271, Aug 31 to The Hague, rptd Paris 1322 and strongly urged French support for US proposal in terminating GATT obligations Czecho. Summary aide-mémoire left with Charpentier.

Charpentier agreed reconsider matter and let us know promptly. He pointed out, however, that French object to proposal on both practical and tech grounds. He mentioned large Czech debt to France, French citizens jailed by Czechs, wagons lits and other disputes and indicated French unwilling take any action liable to aggravate these difficulties and increase French losses. He added that if French support US proposal there wld be very little argument against French taking same action vis-a-vis Czechs. We emphasized that we thought Czechs had singled out US as main target, that we did not ask anyone else to take action we proposed, but that we wld of course not object to, but wld support similar French action. Charpentier feels French econ and polit relations with Czechs in very critical state.

Technically French question whether Articles XXV or XXXV were ever intended to be used as proposed by US altho they admit language apparently permits considerable latitude. They wld prefer a solution not involving “forcing the issue” in GATT, but have as yet no specific suggestion.

In short, French evidently convinced they wld be helping US to their own detriment, and they cling to theory that GATT agreement shld stand or fall on question fulfillment its own clauses rather than on any collateral matter, no matter how important.

  1. See footnote 4, p. 1391.