The Secretary of State to the Greek Chargé (Tsamados)

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of October 14th,4 in which, referring to the Department’s note of March 25, 1919, in reply to your note transmitting the Greek Government’s denunciation as of March 1, 1919, of the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation concluded on December 10/22, 1837, you state that, in the event of no new treaty being concluded before March 1, 1920, the Royal Government of Greece offers to extend the 1837 treaty until December 31, 1920.

In reply, I have the honor to state that the extension of the treaty, at this time, until December 31, 1920, as suggested, would, in effect, be a modification of Article XVII which provides that the treaty may be terminated after its original term, upon the expiration of twelve months following notice given by either party at any time. In view of the form of constitutional government obtaining in this country the Government of the United States is unable, by Executive action alone, to agree to an amendment of a treaty provision and can not, therefore, so agree to the extension of the treaty in a manner, or for a period, other than contemplated by Article XVII.

In the circumstances, however, the Government of the United States suggests that the Greek Government may possibly desire to withdraw its notice of denunciation, so that the treaty shall remain in force until twelve months after a new notice is given by either party, in accordance with its provisions, or unless and until its provisions be modified by any treaty that may hereafter be negotiated between the two Governments. It would appear that by a [Page 714] withdrawal of the notice of denunciation prior to December 31, 1919, followed by a new denunciation on that date, the desire of the Greek Government to continue the treaty in force until December 31, 1920, could be attained.

In this connection, however, it may be stated that, until a notice of withdrawal is received from the Greek Government and accepted by the Government of the United States, the notice of denunciation of the Treaty of December 10/22, 1837, is regarded by the Government of the United States as having due force and effect,- in accordance with the provisions of Article XVII of the treaty.

Accept [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
William Phillips
  1. Note no. 416, Feb. 28, supra.