800.01 M 31/61b: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France ( Herrick )2

377. In response to a recent request from the French Embassy for an expression of our views on the draft mandates for Togoland and the Cameroons,3 and in view of the fact that the draft “A” and “B” Mandates are now under discussion, the following memorandum setting forth our views with regard to the draft “A” and “B” Mandates has been handed to the French Chargé d’Affaires and also communicated to the British, Italian and Japanese governments.

You will so inform the Minister for Foreign Affairs and hand him a copy of the following memorandum:

“Before proceeding to the consideration of the precise terms of draft mandates, it is thought best to restate the general principles which are deemed to be involved.

1. This Government adheres to the position already stated that the right to dispose of the overseas possessions of Germany was acquired only through the victory of the Allied and Associated powers, and that there can be no valid or effective disposition of these territories without the assent of the United States as one of the participants in that victory.

2. This position of the United States is not opposed, but is confirmed, by the Treaty of Versailles, by which Germany renounces in favor of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, of which the United States was designated to be one, all her rights and titles over her overseas possessions. It may further be observed that in providing, as stated in Article 440, for the coming into force of that treaty when it had been ratified by Germany and three of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, it was manifestly not the intention that on such ratification by three Powers there should still remain in Germany any undivided share of title or sovereignty in the overseas possessions described. It would seem to be clear [Page 923] that the renunciation set forth in Article 119 of the treaty was not intended to be divisible.

In the light of all the pertinent considerations, this Government perceives no possible basis for a claim that the other Principal Allied and Associated Powers would be entitled to exclude the United States from full participation, and the United States does not understand that any such claim is made.

3. The right of the United States in the territories in question could not be made the subject of such disposition as is proposed without its assent, and under its constitutional system the giving of this assent is not exclusively within the authority of the President. It is thought, however, that there would be no difficulty in negotiating an appropriate treaty if the terms of the mandates were denned in the line of the following suggestions. It is not the intention of this Government to raise objection to allocation or terms of mandates for the purpose of seeking additional territory or for any other purpose than to safeguard the interests of the United States and the fair and equal opportunities which it is believed the United States should enjoy in common with the other powers.

With respect to the Island of Yap there are special considerations, because of its characteristics and availability for communication purposes, and the questions pertinent to that island or to the “C” Mandates are not discussed in this memorandum.

4. With respect to mandated territories, other than those which were formerly possessions of Germany, while it is true that the United States did not declare war against Turkey, still the opportunity of the Allied powers to secure the allocation of mandates and the administration of territories formerly under Turkish rule was made possible only through the victory over Germany, and the United States assumes that by reason of its relation to that victory and of the fundamental principles recognized by the British Government4 as applicable to the administration of mandated territories, there would be no disposition in relation to any of these territories to discriminate against the United States or to refuse to safeguard equality of commercial opportunity.

5. With this understanding, and without attempting to restate the general principles governing mandates which have been the subject of previous correspondence between the two governments, this Government desires to submit the following special observations as to the forms of mandates which have been proposed:

Draft “A” mandates

(a). Capitulatory Rights. In the draft for Syria and Lebanon5 there is a provision in Article 5 not found in the mandates for Mesopotamia6 and Palestine,7 to the effect that foreign consular tribunals shall continue to perform their duties until the described new legal organization is set up. It is desired that there should be a similar [Page 924] provision in the mandate for Mesopotamia, and that in the mandate for Palestine it should be provided that Capitulatory rights shall be continued until adequate courts are established. Provision should also be made in all “A” Mandates for the revival of capitulatory rights in the event of the termination of the mandate regime.

(b) Provisions against Discrimination. The limitation of protection in Articles 11 and 14 of mandates for Syria and Lebanon and Mesopotamia, and of Articles 18 and 21 of mandate for Palestine to states that are members of the League of Nations should be removed and the protection extended so as to embrace the United States. This could be effected by referring to any State mentioned in the annex to the covenant of the League of Nations. The reference to incorporated companies in Article 11 of the mandate for Mesopotamia and in Article 18 of the mandate for Palestine is too narrow and should be broadened to embrace societies and associations (see Article 11 of mandate for Syria and Lebanon).

It is desired that there should also be provision against discrimination in concessions. British “B” mandate for East Africa,8 Article 7 provides as follows:

‘Concessions for the development of natural resources of the territory shall be granted by the mandatory without distinction on grounds of nationality between the nationals of all states members of the League of Nations but on such conditions as will maintain intact the authority of the local government.’

Similar provision should be inserted in “A” Mandates and broadened to embrace the United States.

There should also be appropriate provision against the granting of monopolistic concessions or the monopolizing of natural resources by the mandatory itself.

(c). Missionaries. In Mandate for Syria and Lebanon protection is accorded provided activities are confined ‘to the domain of religion.’ It would appear as if the intention were to restrict, if not to eliminate, educational and charitable missionaries. It is desired that present and future activities, both religious and educational, of our missionaries should be fully protected, and it is suggested that provision similar to Article 8 of the British “B” mandate for German East Africa be incorporated in all “A” mandates.

(a) It will be understood that the consent of the United States shall be necessary to any modification of a mandate after it has been agreed to.

Draft “B” mandates

(a) The provisions of Article 6 of the British and French mandates for the Cameroons and Togoland9 and of the Belgian mandate for German East Africa10 and of Article 7 of the British mandate for German East Africa are not extended to the nationals of the United States. This should be corrected, and it might be sufficient to substitute ‘nationals of States mentioned in the annex to the covenant of the League of Nations’ for ‘nationals of States members of the League of Nations’ in each of these articles.

[Page 925]

In the third paragraph of the same article in each mandate it should also be provided that monopolistic concessions should not be granted by the mandatory, nor should natural resources of the mandated territory be monopolized by the mandatory itself.

(b) Article 8 of the British mandate for East Africa is acceptable and its provisions should be substituted for those of the corresponding article numbered 7 in the other B mandates.

(c) Article 10 of the British mandate for East Africa contains a clause ‘provided always that the measures adopted to that end do not infringe the provisions of this mandate’, which might well be added to the corresponding Article 9 of the other B mandates.

(d) The consent of the United States will be necessary to modify the mandate terms.”

  1. The same mutatis mutandis, Aug. 7, to the Ambassador in Italy as no. 134 and to the Chargé in Japan as no. 129 (file no. 800.01 M 31/61a, 61c). A somewhat similar telegram had been sent to the Ambassador in Great Britain on Aug. 4; see vol. ii, p. 106.
  2. Note of July 5; not printed.
  3. Telegraphic instructions to omit the words “by the British Government” were sent on Aug. 8 to the Ambassadors in France and Italy and to the Chargé in Japan (file nos. 800.01 M 31/61f, 61g, 61h.)
  4. Ante, p. 99.
  5. Ante, p. 105.
  6. Ante, p. 110.
  7. Ante, p. 121.
  8. Ante, pp. 125 and 129, respectively.
  9. Ante, p. 133.