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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

France,   pp. 275-318 PDF (16.0 MB)

Page 303

him that the Sneer method devised by the French Government for sup-
pressing the contraband trade would be more effective than the method
now in force.
  He and the Minister state that their sole desire was to suppress com-
pletely the contraband from St. Pierre-Miquelon to the United States.
  They said that with this object in view they had asked the Assembly
at St. Pierre-Miquelon to vote a law forbidding the importation into
St. Pierre-Miquelon of all alcohol except French alcohol; the law had
been voted.
  In return the inhabitants of St. Pierre-Miquelon had requested that
they should be treated in the same manner as inhabitants of all other
French colonies; that is to say the regime of export under bond should
be suppressed.
  The Minister and his expert both stated that the French Government
was prepared to promise that no alcool de traite would be exported
from France to St. Pierre-Miquelon.
  They were further prepared to promise that if the American Govern-
ment should find reason to object to the new regime in St. Pierre-
Miquelon they would establish a quota for importation of alcoholic
beverages to St. Pierre-Miquelon.
  They stated further that one of their chief reasons in desiring to
change the law was the wish to reduce the expenses of the French
Government in maintainingy St. Pierre-Mi quelon.
  They asserted that the revenues of the islands now amounted to ap-
proximately 1,000,000 francs and asserted expenses of the islands
amounted to 8,000,000 francs which required an annual contribution
by the French Government of about 7,000,000 francs. They wished
to reduce the number of customs inspectors at St. Pierre-Miquelon in
order to reduce the expenses of the French Government.
  The expert of the Minister of Colonies there said that they would
be very glad to put on more customs inspectors if the United States
should be prepared to pay for them. I asked him if he were speaking
seriously as we were willing to go to great lengths to prevent this
traffic. He replied that of course the French Government would have
to select and pay the agents with our money.
  They finally said that if the new regime should be established and
the American Government should find objections thereto they were
prepared to reintroduce the regime now in force.
  I asked if they would hold up the new decree and they said they
could hold it up for a few days. The difficulty was that the law
passed by the Assembly of St. Pierre-Miquelon forbidding the impor-
tation of alcohol except of French origin was now due to take effect.
They had secured the passage of this law by promising that the regime
of export under bond would be suppressed. Moreover, the bonding

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