File No. 761.91/57
The Minister in Persia ( Caldwell) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 2, 11.85 a.m.]
Treaties of seven powers besides Russia contain provisions for extraterritorial rights as reported in civil cases, which privileges accrue to the United States by reason of most favored nation treatment. The Russian commercial treaty of Turkomanchai is the only one, however, which provides for criminal jurisdiction of foreigners and this privilege would seem to be lost to all countries by the abrogation of all Russian treaties. In view of the very unsatisfactory system of justice in Persia I consider it essential for safeguarding our rights that Americans should not be brought before a Persian criminal court.
Present Cabinet inclined to approve action of late Cabinet but will not attempt to interfere with treaties of other nations.
Russian concession contracts were very onerous to Persia and in view of this and the friendly attitude of Persians of all classes [garbled passage] it would not seem expedient to protest against this part of the abolition. As regards treaties, criminal jurisdiction is only important matter modified as far as America is concerned, and if Department does not think we can continue to claim this by right of present and immemorial use, a modus vivendi, by an exchange of notes or other means, could doubtless be arrived at. British Legation has informed Persian Government that matter has been referred to London but in meantime has signified its refusal to acquiesce in any unilateral abrogation by Persia of her treaties. Should the Department adopt similar views I should suggest reserving criminal jurisdiction privileges of Russian treaty to American [Page 913] citizens. German Legation has agreed to suspend article 13 of her treaty of 1873 giving her extraterritorial rights in civil cases; it is likely that such offer is merely to gain popular sentiment here during the war.