File No. 811.2222/10905

The British Ambassador on Special Mission ( Reading) to the Secretary of State

No. 585

My Dear Mr. Secretary: With further reference to your note of May 3, relating to amendments in the military service conventions between the United States and Great Britain and Canada, I beg to inform you that I have received an answer from my Government, to whom I had submitted the proposals which you made.

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In the first place, with regard to the suggestion that the British convention should state explicitly the age limits for military service for American citizens in Great Britain, I regret to say that, having regard to the state of business in Parliament, my Government find it impossible to meet you on this point. I therefore beg you to be good enough not to press this proposal.

Secondly, I am prepared to accept the proviso to the first article of the British convention, which you set out in your letter, subject to this small amendment, that, after the words “resident in a place,” there should be inserted the words: “in the British Empire or in the United States and its possessions, respectively.”

Further, I have to suggest that there should be added to article 1 of the British convention this yet further proviso:

Provided further That in the event of compulsory military service being applied to any part of the British Empire, in which military service at present is not compulsory, British subjects who, before proceeding to the United States were ordinarily resident in such part of the British Empire, shall, unless they enlist or enrol in the British Army in the manner aforesaid, be liable to military service according to the laws and regulations of the United States.

This proviso is unnecessary as far as Ireland is concerned, in view of the provisions of the recent British Man-Power Act; but it may be useful, in case conscription is hereafter applied to other parts of the Empire.

In the third place, I agree to the omission of article 5 of the British convention.

Fourthly, I am prepared to accept the final article of both the British and Canadian conventions, with the amendments which you propose.

With regard to the Canadian convention, it would appear that, having regard to the possible application of conscription to Ireland and, it may be, to other parts of the Empire, the definition of “Canadians” in article 1 of this convention and in article 4 of the British convention, requires amendment.

I therefore propose that after the words “resident in Great Britain or Canada” in the definition referred to, there should be inserted “or in any other part of the British Empire to which conscription may be hereafter by law applied.”

I am glad to say that the Canadian Government accept all the other amendments which affect their convention, viz., the deletion of article 4 and the amendment of article 7. I hope that this substantial agreement with regard to the amendments which you have proposed will make it possible to sign the new convention at an early date.

I am [etc.]