File No. 811.203/10

The Secretary of State to the French Ambassador ( Jusserand )

No. 2023

Excellency: Referring to your note of October 1, 1917, in which by direction of your Government you draw my attention to the advantages that would be derived from an agreement between the United States and France on the subject of penal military jurisdiction over the military and naval forces of one country while within the territory or limits of the other, I have the honor to inform you that I am authorized by the President, as Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States, to propose to you an agreement by an exchange of notes as follows:

The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the French Republic agree to recognize during the war the exclusive jurisdiction of the tribunals of their respective land [Page 736] and sea forces with regard to persons subject to the jurisdiction of those forces whatever be the territory in which they operate or the nationality of the accused. In the case of offences committed jointly or in complicity with persons subject to the jurisdiction of the said military forces, the principals and accessories who are amenable to the American land and sea forces shall be handed over for trial to the American military or naval justice, and the principals and accessories who are amenable to the French land and sea forces shall be handed over for trial to the French military or naval justice.

The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the French Republic further agree to recognize during the present war the exclusive jurisdiction within American territory of American justice over persons not belonging to the French land and sea forces who may commit acts prejudicial to the said military forces and the exclusive jurisdiction, within French territory, of French justice over persons not belonging to American land and sea forces who may commit acts prejudicial to the said military forces.

The word “persons” as used in the first paragraph of this agreement designates, together with the persons enrolled in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, any other person who under the American or French law is subject to military or naval jurisdiction, especially members of the Red Cross regularly accepted by the Government of the United States of America or the Government of the French Republic in so far as the American or French law and the customs of war place them under military or naval jurisdiction.

Should this arrangement be acceptable to the Government of the French Republic your formal notification in writing to that effect will be understood on the part of the Government of the United States as completing the arrangement and putting it into force and effect, and I shall be glad to receive your assurance that it will be so understood also on the part of the Government of the French Republic.

Accept [etc.]

Robert Lansing