Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1921, Volume I
800.01 M 31/89
The Ambassador in France (Herrick) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 12, 1922.]
Sir: With reference to the Embassy’s telegram No. 702 of December 27, 1921,11 transmitting the substance of the Foreign Office Note dated December 22, 1921, in reply to the observations embodied in the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 377, August 7, 2 p.m., I have the honor to transmit herewith for the information of the Department and such action as may be deemed appropriate, a copy and translation of the Foreign Office Note in question.
I have [etc.]
The French Minister for Foreign Affairs (Briand) to the American Ambassador (Herrick)
Mr. Ambassador: In accord with the Allied Governments, to whom the same memorandum was also communicated, the Government of the Republic has examined with the greatest care the memorandum of August 9, 1921, setting forth the views of the Government of the United States relative to the mandates for certain territories which, by the terms of the treaties of peace, cease to be under the sovereignty of the enemy powers.
The Government of the United States claims the right to take part in the measures for the disposition of these territories and, on [Page 926] this occasion, raises certain questions relative to the consequences of the nonratification by the United States of the Treaty of Versailles and of its nonparticipation in the war against Turkey.
Referring to the general principles governing mandates, principles established in the correspondence previously exchanged between the two Governments, the Government of the United States submits now for the examination of the Government of the Republic certain modifications which it believes should be embodied in the text of the French mandates.
The Government of the Republic has the honor to point out that it has never been its intention to deprive the United States of the fruits of a victory to which the latter so generously contributed. It is altogether disposed to meet, as far as it is concerned, the views of the United States; it does not therefore appear necessary to undertake a detailed discussion of the general considerations contained in the American note.
The cooperation of the United States in the elaboration of peace was the necessary corollary of its cooperation in the war and in the victory. The Treaty of Versailles, which was the result of that cooperation, was accepted by the Allied Powers on the presumption that it represented the common views of all those who had taken part in its preparation, after having combined their efforts to assure victory.
It is by reason of this presumption that the Allied Powers have accepted engagements not only with regard to Germany, but also with regard to each other, engagements from which it is impossible for them now to withdraw. The decision of one of the Allied and Associated Powers not to ratify the treaty does not change the obligations that this treaty has imposed on the powers which have ratified it, and does not release them from the obligations it contains. Neither can these powers now accept any new engagements which are not in accordance with the terms of this treaty.
The foregoing is particularly true as far as it concerns the overseas territories which formerly belonged to Germany. By the Treaty of Versailles, Germany has renounced all sovereignty over them; as is indicated in the American note, this renunciation was intended to be indivisible; Germany does not retain today any part of this sovereignty. But this sovereignty has been given up under the conditions inscribed in the treaty. Among the conditions there laid down appeared the assurance that these territories would be administered in the future by mandatories delegated by the League of Nations, and placed under its general control. The Allied Powers are bound to observe this engagement; they engaged themselves not only toward Germany but toward their own peoples to recognize and accept the special role and the functions of the League [Page 927] of Nations in all that concerns the mandates for these territories; they are not free to agree with another power to any arrangements which are not in accordance with the engagements that they have taken.
In view of this situation, the Government of the Republic has the honor to formulate the propositions which appear to it to satisfy best the American views with regard to French mandates in Central Africa. As regards the mandates for the territories of the middle East, the position of these territories not yet being legally defined, the Government of the Republic will make this matter the subject of a later note:14
(1) The Government of the United States proposes that the words “nationals of States mentioned in the annex to the Covenant of the League of Nations” be substituted for the words “nationals of states members of the League of Nations” inserted in article 6 of the mandates for Togoland and the Cameroons and in article 7 of the English mandate for East Africa. Thereby the citizens of the United States would be included in this definition.
The Government of the Republic must point out, in the first place, that this modification would exclude the states which, although not mentioned in the annex to the Covenant, have become members of the League since the signature of the treaty of peace.
It must bring to mind, in the second place, that the object of the mandate regime is to render the mandatory powers responsible at all times for the discharge of certain duties toward the states which have adhered to the Covenant of the League of Nations. The Government of the Republic consequently considers it difficult to accept a proposition by which, in the very terms of the mandate, other states would be designated either by name or collectively.
It appears that the best way to meet the wish expressed by the American note would be that the French Government give to the Government of the United States the guarantee that citizens of the United States will enjoy in every respect in the mandated territories the same rights and privileges as citizens of states members of the League of Nations, it being understood that they will also be subject to the same obligations. This guarantee could be the object of an exchange of notes.
The Government of the United States expresses in addition the wish that paragraph 3 of the same article should stipulate that the mandatory will not grant any monopolies and that the natural resources of the mandated territories will not be monopolized by the mandatory itself. The Government of the Republic has no intention of granting concessions having the character of a general monopoly in the territories in question, nor of reserving for itself [Page 928] such concessions. It is necessary, however, in the interest of the territories under mandate, that the mandatory assure to the territories the fiscal resources which may appear best suited to local needs and, to this end, reserves the right to create monopolies for purely fiscal reasons. It is likewise necessary that the administration have the right to exploit in the way that it considers best those natural resources that can be employed in the public interest, as, for example, water power that can be utilized for the electrification of a railroad or for the production of light.
The insertion of the following paragraph, after paragraph 3 of article 6, would meet the preceding observations:
“There shall be granted no concessions having the character of a general monopoly. This clause does not impair the right of the mandatory to create monopolies of a fiscal character or, in certain cases, to develop the natural resources, either directly by the state, or by an organization subject to its control, provided that no monopoly of the natural resources will result therefrom to the benefit of the mandatory.”
(2) The Government of the United States asks that the text of article 8 of the British Mandate for Tanganyika be substituted for that of article 7 of the other African mandates.
The intention of the Government at Washington is apparently formally to assure to American missionaries the right to exercise freely their mission to Togoland and to the Cameroons, a right which up to the present has, in fact, been granted them by the French Government. This result can be obtained without any modification being made in the text of the mandate. The Government of the Republic is indeed disposed to give to the Government of the United States, insofar as concerns equality of treatment, a guarantee similar to that which is suggested above for article 6.
The Government of the Republic is disposed, moreover, to declare that, in the territories under mandate, the missionaries will have the right to acquire and possess property, construct buildings for religious purposes, and to open schools adding as a condition the words: “in conformity with the local law.”
Consequently, the text of article 7 would be drawn up as follows:
“Subject to the provisions imposed by the local laws for the maintenance of public order and public morals, the mandatory shall insure in the territory liberty of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, and it shall permit all missionaries, nationals of states members of the League of Nations, to enter the territory, to travel there and to reside there for the purpose of carrying out their mission, to acquire and possess property, to construct buildings for religious purposes and to open schools, on condition that they conform to local law.”
(3) The Government of the United States asks that there be added to paragraph 2 of article 9 of the mandate for Togoland and [Page 929] the Cameroons, the following words which are found in article 10 of the British mandate: “provided always that the measures adopted to that end do not infringe the provisions of this mandate.”
The Government of the Republic has no objections to this addition.
(4) Finally, the. Government of the United States expresses the wish that the consent of the United States be obtained before any change is made in the text of the mandates.
It would be difficult to insert in the mandate itself a clause of this nature, constituting an engagement between the League of Nations and a power which is not a member of the League. There is, however, no objection to the mandatory making in this respect special dispositions.
Under these conditions, the best way of meeting the wishes of the United States would seem to be that the Government of the Republic, as mandatory, give to the American Government the assurance that it will not propose nor accept any modification in the terms of the mandates without first consulting the Government of the United States.
The Government of the Republic hopes that the Government of the United States will feel that an exchange of notes will answer its requirements, and that there will be no delay in the publication of the mandates, which should not be deferred any longer.
Please accept [etc.]