File No. 811.2222/1773a

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page)


5956. Your Nos. 7847, 7851.2 Conscription agreement.

We will arrange to give a short notice to the British Government before exchange of ratifications is made here so that the convention may be laid before Parliament as the British Government desires.
We are willing to agree to article 1 as given in the British text transmitted in your 7847 on the understanding set forth in the last sentence of your 7847, section 1.
The British changes from 60 to 30 days in article 2 are adopted. We have made a few verbal changes in this article which do not change the sense or meaning. For example: the words “as provided “are omitted, as they seem to carry no meaning for the reason that the whole question of certificates is fully covered by article 3.
Thirty-day period is adopted in article 3.
Article 4 as proposed by Great Britain will lead to difficulty and confusion for the United States to determine whether a British subject is “ordinarily resident” in Canada or some other part of the British Empire. Cannot the distinction be made more clear-cut by having the proposed article 4 exclude from the operation of the convention British subjects in the United States born or naturalized in Canada? Birth and naturalization can be easily determined, as they are generally matters of record; thus the convention would apply to British subjects in the United States who are neither born nor naturalized in Canada but who reside there.
The only change in article 5 is the omission of the word “resident.” This word has been omitted throughout the convention on account of vague and uncertain meaning which it carries in various parts of the United States. The word “are” which is used instead of “resident” throughout the convention can be interpreted, it is believed, in a manner agreeable to both countries.
The remaining articles 7 and 8 are adopted with few minor verbal changes, to which we trust the British Government will raise no objection.
We are willing to omit an article regarding the arrest of deserters. If experience shows the necessity of such a provision it can be negotiated later.
By the omission of the article regarding the exclusion of declarants from the operation of this convention, it is understood that declarants of British nationality who have been registered under our Draft Act of May 18, 1917, will not come within the operation of the convention, but will remain subject to conscription under that act. If necessary this understanding may be made clear by an additional article to the treaty.
It is my understanding that the present convention shall apply only to Americans in the United Kingdom, excluding Ireland, and to British subjects, except Canadians, in continental United States.
The text of the convention drafted in conformity with the foregoing follows.1
  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Not printed.