The Consul in Chargé at Beirut (Knabenshue) to the Secretary of State

No. 437

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatches, No. 251 of March 3, No. 334 of July 6 and No. 351 of August 3,16 relative to the taxation of foreigners in Syria contrary to capitulatory exemptions, and to inform the Department that as indicated in my former despatches, the Government here proposed to draw up a new schedule of taxes and to submit it to the Capitulatory Powers for consideration and approval in so far as such taxes might be applicable to foreigners.

The proposal in question was submitted a few weeks ago to the various foreign consuls in Beirut. The Consular Corps here has met several times to discuss jointly the proposal. At the last meeting, held on October 28th, three representatives of the local Government were present, by invitation, to explain certain features of the proposal which appearedto require further elucidation. Another meeting of the Consular Corps will be held within a few days, when it is proposed to draw up a joint resolution on the subject for submission by each consular representative to his government.

I have just received from Consul Jackson at Aleppo a copy of his despatch No. 708 of October 29, 1921,17 giving his observations in [Page 934] connection with the new tax proposal. Inasmuch as the Consular Corps at Beirut have given considerable time and study to this question, in order that the various consuls may submit to their respective governments a carefully considered recommendation for consideration and appropriate action, it is respectfully suggested that the Department take no action in the matter until my report on the subject is received. The Department will, of course, understand that the action of the Consular Corps in Beirut and its relations with the Government here in connection with this matter have been entirely confined to a study of the question and not negotiations. The local Government has been informed by the Consular Corps that the entire matter must, of necessity, be referred to the Capitulatory Powers for consideration and appropriate action, and that no assurances in connection with or acceptance of the provisions of the new tax proposal can be given by the respective consuls unless so authorized by their governments.

It is hoped that my report covering this question will be transmitted to the Department in about two weeks’ time.18

I have [etc.]

P. Knabenshue
  1. No. 351 not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. The report to which the consul refers was not sent until Feb. 9, 1922 (file no. 890d.512/9). Its purport is indicated in the telegram of Jan. 21, 1922, p. 936.