The Consul in Chargé at Damascus (Allen) to the Secretary of State

No. 103

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith in translation a copy of a letter which I have just received from the local French Delegation19 which in turn transmits a copy of a letter [from] the French High Commissioner at Beirut directing the recognition of the American point of view as regards the correct interpretation of Article IV of the Treaty of May 7, 1830.

In my despatch No. 57 of October 13 I reported that I had been advised verbally by the Director of Consular Services of the local government and by the French Legal Adviser that this point of view had been accepted. I was later informed by the Director of Consular Services that he had been reprimanded by the Governor-General for so advising me and that the government was not yet disposed to accept the American point of view.

It happened that at this moment an American citizen, George Haddad by name, became involved in a brawl with a policeman [Page 935] and this gave the government an opportunity to reopen the discussion. It accordingly dropped the question of Nejib Meshaka treated in my despatch No. 57 and took up with some vigor the question of George Haddad. I naturally declined to recede from the position I had taken and while the correspondence was being carried on, I placed Haddad under arrest on a warrant charging him with disorderly conduct, continued the case once in order to give the government every opportunity to compel the aggrieved policeman to appear as a witness, and when he did not appear at the second hearing, I dismissed the charge for want of evidence.

The receipt of the enclosed letter from the French Delegation was the culmination of the matter. Attention is called to the fact that in this case the assurances are written instead of verbal.

I have [etc.]

Charles E. Allen

The French High Commissioner ad interim in Syria and the Lebanon (De Caix) to the French Delegate ad interim at Damascus (Schoeffler)

No. 2455

In reply to your letter 1490/SJ, I have the honor to inform you that I consider correct the solution given by your delegation to the question raised by the Government of Damascus. In fact it is approved by both Young and Mandelstamm and is in conformity with all the precedents. Article IV of the Treaty of 1830 is susceptible of two interpretations according as one consults the English or the Turkish text. But in spite of the efforts of the Sublime Porte, the United States have always maintained and caused to be respected the English interpretation according to which not only the imprisonment but also the arrest of American subjects is denied to the local authorities. In 1868, 1877, 1888, 1889 and 1895 the United States carried their point of view. The entire discussion hinging upon the word “tedib” which Turkey interpreted in the sense of “punish” and not of “arrest and try”, by comparison with Article VIII of the treaty concluded between the Sublime Porte and the Hanseatic Cities where the word “tedib” has, as shown by the context, a wider meaning, there seems to be no doubt that this same word in Article IV of the treaty of 1830 should be given the meaning that “the Americans shall be chastised (tried) by their Consuls”. Thus the local authorities cannot, to my mind, either arrest, try or imprison an American subject.

Robert de Caix
  1. Not printed.