The Secretary of State to the Consul at Jerusalem ( Southard )
Sir: In reply to the questions asked in your despatch No. 706 of August 17, 1921, relative to the arrest and imprisonment by the Palestine Government of Abraham Chaikin, an American citizen, you are informed that the Department is not prepared to accept the view of the Civil Secretary of the Palestine Government that Mr. Chaikin was not subject to American consular jurisdiction because he was apprehended in a military zone by military police and because he was tried and sentenced without claiming exemption as an American citizen.
This Government, under existing treaties and usages, has the right to maintain courts of justice separate from the local administration for the exclusive cognizance of alleged offenses by American citizens in Palestine, and it cannot admit that that right yields to the right which may be asserted by the military authorities to apprehend persons in a military zone. …
In regard to the effect of the failure of an American citizen to claim exemption from the military jurisdiction, it may be observed that since the jurisdictional immunity of American citizens in Palestine is derived from rights accorded to the Government of the United States it cannot, in the opinion of the Department, be relinquished at the will of an individual citizen.
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