Use of French Records
Use of French Records

When the composition of an engagement cannot be determined from the "Statement ..." alone, such as in the years 1904, 1905, and 1914, monthly records of the Bureau of Statistics are consulted. The coin/bar composition can then be determined for the month and, frequently, for the individual engagements occurring within the month. This identification technique is supplemented and confirmed by use of the weekly U. S. Customs House export reports contained within the Journal of Commerce.

Use of French Import Records.

The French customs reports provides monthly import data of all gold received by France and specifies the country of origin. Gold receipt is categorized by composition as either gold coin ("Monnaies") or gold bars ("Brut"). The monthly reports are presented in a running total format, in kilograms, cumulative from January 1 of each year. To determine the amount received in any particular month, the cumulative total from the previous month was subtracted from the cumulative total of the month under study. Conversion factors used to convert kilograms to troy ounces, and then to dollars, along with the converted monthly French import of U. S. gold bars and "Autres Pays" (discussed next) gold coin for the period 1904 through 1914 is provided in the Appendix & Data and French Import sections of this report.

The United States is listed separately under the "Brut..." or Bar category within the French "Documents Statistiques..."[see sample]. This separate listing enables a compilation of monthly receipt of gold bars from the United States. However, France's monthly receipt of U. S. gold coin is more difficult to ascertain; unfortunately, the United States is not listed separately within the "Monnaies" or Coin category. The monthly receipt of U. S. gold coin is included with the monthly receipt of gold coin from Spain, Switzerland and other countries under the catch-all "Autres Pays." The annual French "Tableau Général...," (ENLARGED), however, does, by elimination of identified countries specified in the monthly report, identify all countries contained within the "Autres Pays" category and enables the determination of the yearly receipt of gold coin from each of these countries, including the U. S.

Imports are additionally classified as "Commerce Général" (General Commerce) and "Commerce Spécial" (Special Commerce).

In attempting to form an estimate of merchandise movements, we are confronted with two sets of statistical data. During the period under consideration the French official practice has been to compile two separate sets of import and export statistics, one under the head of 'general commerce' and the other under the head of 'special commerce.' The former includes under imports all merchandise imported into France, whether for French consumption, re-export, storage, or transit... The latter (special commerce) includes under imports merchandise brought into the country for consumption only...

Since the purpose of constructing a statement of international accounts is to record only those items which give rise to sums due France from foreign countries or due foreign countries by France, the figures under general commerce are not pertinent. Goods that pass thru [sic] France, en route from Germany to Italy, for example, would appear in the figures for general commerce altho [sic] they do not give rise to sums due to or by France. ... It is, therefore, the figures appearing under special commerce that are used for the merchandise balance of payments. ...

The French International Accounts 1880 - 1913
by Harry D. White
Harvard University Press, 1933, Pg 39, 40

The General Commerce category is all inclusive. Goods that are specifically defined as Special Commerce are included within the General Commerce category as well.

All gold coin received from the United States is reported in the "Tableau Général...," (ENLARGED) as received within the Special Commerce category. Out of the 18,448 Kg of gold bars received from the United States during 1909, 18,437 Kg was received within Special Commerce. Therefore, French import data of U. S. gold within the Special Commerce category was used in this report.