The Department of State to the French Embassy
The Department of State has received from the American Ambassador at Paris a note of June 29 addressed to him by the French Government with respect to the mandate for Syria and the Lebanon, with an accompanying draft convention between the United States and France regarding that mandate.
In a memorandum of July eighth11 respecting the French mandates for Togoland and the Cameroons the Department of State outlined the views of the Government of the United States concerning the form which it was desirable that conventions relative to these mandates should take. Certain of the considerations presented in the [Page 128] memorandum are also pertinent to the subject of Mandates over former Turkish territory, and it is deemed to be advisable that in so far as it is practicable the convention for Syria and the Lebanon should follow closely the form of the other similar conventions respecting mandates.
Certain variations, however, are essential on account of the differences between former Turkish territory and former German territory in Africa and because of the fact that the United States was not a signatory power of the unratified Treaty of Sevres.
With respect to the preamble of the draft convention submitted by the French Government it is suggested that, as in the other conventions, merely the Articles of the Mandate and not the preamble should be recited.
In the second paragraph following the recital of the preamble the word “encore”12 should be eliminated.
As a substitute for the next two paragraphs a recital similar to that suggested with reference to the purpose of the other conventions discussed in the memorandum of July 8 is proposed.
With regard to the Articles of the draft convention, the following suggestions are submitted:
It is considered to be advisable that Articles 1 and 2 should follow the general form of the same numbered Articles in the draft convention discussed in the memorandum of July 8 delivered to the Embassy with respect to mandates for territories in Africa.
Having in mind the importance of American educational interests in Syria and in Palestine, it is deemed to be desirable that the conventions relating to mandates for each of these territories should include a provision with regard to the maintenance of American educational, philanthropic, and religious institutions. A proposal is being made respecting the insertion of such a provision in a convention to be concluded with respect to the mandate for Palestine.13 And it is presumed that the French Government will not find objectionable a provision of this character in the convention under consideration. The following Article is proposed:
Subject to the provisions of any local law for the maintenance of public order and public morals, the nationals of the United States will be permitted freely to establish and maintain educational, philanthropic, and religious institutions in the mandate territory, to receive voluntary applicants, and to teach in the English language.
It is evidently intended that the last sentence of Article 6 of the draft convention should deal with a contingency in which the convention shall have taken effect before the mandate has been issued. It is of course assumed that the mandate would not be effective before its issuance, and that the convention relating to the mandate would not sanction any action under the mandate prior to the issuance of the mandate. However, it being assumed that the French provisional administration which is now in effect shall continue, it is suggested that, instead of the concluding sentence of Article 6, a provision might be substituted with regard to the protection of American interests under such administration, prior to the issuance of the mandate. Such a provision might read in substance as follows:
The Government of the French Republic agrees that in the conduct of any provisional administration of Syria and the Lebanon pending the formal issuance of the mandate, the rights and privileges of nationals of the United States as defined by the present Convention shall be fully respected. There shall be no suspension of capitulatory rights prior to the issuance of the mandate.
With respect to the Mandate it may be pointed out that the communication of June 29 to the American Ambassador at Paris affords the Government of the United States the first opportunity it has had of learning the views of the French Government with regard to the suggestions contained in the memorandum presented to the French Foreign Office in August last relating to the provisions of certain mandates, including the proposed mandate for Syria and the Lebanon.14 The following suggestions respecting the terms of the Mandate are offered:
The first sentence of Article V and the second paragraph of Article XVIII relate to the suspension of capitulatory rights in Syria and the Lebanon. As a substitute for these, the adoption of the following provisions, which the Government of the United States after an exchange of views with the British Government has proposed with respect to the Mandate for Palestine,15 is suggested:
The immunities and privileges of foreigners, including the benefits of consular jurisdiction and protection as formerly enjoyed by capitulation or usage in the Ottoman Empire, are suspended in Palestine, but unless the powers whose nationals were entitled on August 1, 1914, to such privileges and immunities shall have previously agreed to their abandonment or to their suspension for a further period, such privileges and immunities shall, immediately upon the termination of the mandate regime, be revived, either in [Page 130] full or subject to such modification if any as may have been agreed upon by the powers concerned.
The second sentence of Article V of the mandate which relates to the maintenance of consular courts pending the reorganization of the judicial system in Syria and the Lebanon should be retained.
In view of the fact that the Governments of the United States, France and Great Britain have in mind similar purposes with respect to the subject of the suspension and revival of capitulatory rights, it would seem that there should be no difficulty in reaching an agreement with regard to the provisions suggested above which, it is believed, clearly express the common purpose.
The consent of this Government to the suspension of capitulatory rights in Palestine was given upon the receipt of assurances from the British Government that appropriate provisions would be embodied in the Constitution of Palestine regarding the establishment of adequate courts, and that American citizens would have the right to be tried by a court with a majority of British judges, except in trivial cases in which such a procedure would lead to administrative inconvenience. In such cases nationals of the United States will have the special right to appeal to a court composed of a majority of British judges. It is presumed that the French Government will not object to giving assurances that American citizens in Syria and the Lebanon will be accorded privileges corresponding to those granted by the British Government in Palestine.
Certain alterations have been made in Article XI of the draft Mandate which the Government of the United States previously received from the French Government.16 In order that the provisions of this Article respecting monopolies and concessions should conform to stipulations already agreed upon in the case of mandates for African territory it is suggested that the following statement be inserted to replace the two concluding sentences in the above mentioned Article:
Concessions having the character of a general monopoly shall not be granted. This provision does not affect the right of the Mandatory to create monopolies of a purely fiscal character in the interest of the territory under mandate and in order to provide the territory with fiscal resources which seem best suited to the local requirements: or, in certain cases, to carry out the development of natural resources either directly by the State or by a controlled agency, provided that there shall result therefrom no monopoly of the natural resources for the benefit of the Mandatory or its nationals, directly or indirectly, or any preferential advantage which shall be inconsistent [Page 131] with the economic, commercial and industrial equality hereinbefore guaranteed.
Finally it is suggested that the mandate should contain a provision, mutatis mutandis, similar to that of Article 28 of the mandate for Palestine,17 in so far as the Article relates to the honoring of financial obligations in the event of the termination of the Mandate.
A copy of the draft convention embodying suggestions submitted in this memorandum is herewith enclosed.
- Post, p. 146.↩
- In the phrase “the United States have not yet ratified the pact”, which in the French text reads, “les Etats-Unis n’ont pas encore ratifié le pacte”.↩
- See memorandum of July 12 to the British Embassy, p. 287.↩
- See telegram no. 377, Aug. 7, 1921, to the Ambassador in France, Foreign Relations, 1921, vol. i, p. 922.↩
- See memorandum of July 12 to the British Embassy, p. 287.↩
- Reference is made to the draft printed in Foreign Relations, 1921, vol. i, p. 99.↩
- Post, p. 292.↩