File No. 811.2222/947b

The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador ( Spring Rice)1

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: In pursuance of Senate Resolution No. 108 of July 31 (calendar day August 1), 1917,2 I beg to enclose, as a basis for negotiations a preliminary draft of a proposed agreement between the United States and Great Britain relating to the conscription of the citizens or subjects of either of the contracting parties who may be residing within the territory of the other.

I shall be glad to be informed at your early convenience as to whether this draft is acceptable to your Government as the proper form for a convention of this character or, providing your Government are prepared to conclude with the United States an agreement along these general lines, as to the nature of the changes or modifications which would be necessary in order to render it entirely acceptable.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing

Draft of Agreement

  • Article 1. The United States and _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ agree that each, after a declaration to the other of a desire to have its citizens or subjects residing within the territory of the other return for military service, may notify them to proceed to their own country for such service, or to report to any designated authorities of their own country who may be in the country of their residence.
  • Art. 2. The High Contracting Parties agree to effect as soon as possible the transport by sea or land to their respective countries of their respective citizens or subjects answering the notice given in pursuance of article 1.
  • Art. 3. It is agreed that such of the persons who are notified in pursuance of article 1 and who, after the expiration of _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ days from the date of the declaration made under that article, have not returned to their own country, shall be subject to arrest and delivery to the duly authorized agents of their own country for deportation for military service.
  • Art. 4. It is agreed that any person who is notified in pursuance of article 1 and who, after the expiration of _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ days from the date of the declaration made under that article, has not returned to his own country, or who, after the expiration of _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ days from the date of said declaration has not been deported for military service in pursuance of article 3 shall be subject to military service under the laws of the country of his residence in all respects as if he was a citizen or subject thereof, except as provided in article 5.
  • Art. 5. Any person subject to military service in accordance with the preceding articles shall be exempted from military service upon the formal request of the diplomatic or consular officers of his country made upon the authority and in the name of the Government.
  • Art. 6. The oath to be taken by any person entering the military service of a foreign country by virtue of this agreement, shall not be, nor be held to be, an oath of allegiance involving or causing his expatriation under any laws of his own country.
  • Art. 7. Under this agreement military service in one country, or exemption therefrom, shall be regarded as the equivalent of military service or exemption in the other country, and shall cancel any obligation or liability for such service.
  • Art. 8. It is agreed that the authorities of one country will endeavor to apprehend and take into custody deserters from the armed forces of the other found within its jurisdiction and turn them over to such authorities as their Government may designate.
  • Art. 9. It is understood, for the purposes of this agreement, that a person is a citizen or subject of the country the nationality of which he has last assumed in accordance with its laws. A certificate of the Government of either country setting forth the fact of such nationality shall be legal evidence as to the person’s nationality.
  • Art. 10. This agreement, while in force, but not thereafter, suspends and holds in abeyance any provisions in conflict therewith in _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ between the United States and _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
  • Art. 11. This agreement shall remain in force until either party shall cease to be a co-belligerent in the present war, whereupon any person entered into military service or taken into custody hereunder shall be immediately discharged from such service or released.
  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, on the same date, to the French, Italian, and Russian Ambassadors and the Belgian and Serbian Ministers.
  2. Resolved, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, requested to propose to all European nations engaged in war against the central powers of Europe and, if possible, secure from them an agreement authorizing and empowering the United States to apply the provisions of the act entitled ‘An act to authorize the President to increase temporarily the Military Establishment of the United States,’ approved May 18, 1917, to all such subjects and citizens domiciled in this country in the same manner and to the same effect as such provisions are applied to the citizens of the United States in selecting and raising an army or navy for service in the present war.”