The Department of State to the British Embassy
The Department of State has received the British Chargé d’Affaire’s note of July fifth respecting the Mandate for Palestine, and an accompanying draft of a proposed Convention between His Majesty’s Government and the Government of the United States regarding the Palestine Mandate which, it is stated, has been drawn up in consultation with the French Government.
In a memorandum of July eighth19 the Department of State in replying to His Britannic Majesty’s Embassy in regard to the proposed Mandates for territories in Africa, outlined the views of the Government of the United States concerning the form which it was desirable that the convention should take. Certain of the considerations presented in the 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 Palestine should follow closely the form of other similar conventions respecting mandates.
Certain variations, however, are essential on account of the differences between former Turkish territory and former German territory [Page 288] in Africa and because of the fact that the United States was not a signatory power of the unratified Treaty of Sèvres.
With respect to the preamble of the draft convention the following suggestions are submitted:
The third paragraph should be omitted. The paragraph does not appear to be explanatory of the reasons underlying the negotiation of the proposed convention and therefore seems to be unessential.
It is suggested that, as in the other conventions, merely the Articles of the mandate and not the preamble should be recited.
A slight verbal change is suggested in the second paragraph of the preamble following the recital of the mandate.
As a substitute for the next two paragraphs a recital similar to that suggested with reference to the purpose of the other conventions 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 accompanying the memorandum of July 8 delivered to the Embassy with respect to mandates for territories in Africa.20
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 Syria.21 And it is presumed that the British Government will not find objectionable a provision of this character in the convention under consideration, in view of the assurances contained in His Majesty’s Government’s note of December 29, last,21a with respect to the religious and educational activities of American citizens in Palestine. 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 [Page 289] 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 British 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:
His Britannic Majesty agrees that in the conduct of any provisional administration of Palestine 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.
Touching the mandate, reference is made to the addition to Article 8 regarding the suspension of capitulatory rights in Palestine proposed in the British Government’s note of May 16,22 which reads as follows:
“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 shall be revived immediately and completely upon the termination of the Mandate régime, unless the powers whose nationals were entitled on August 1, 1914, to such rights, should agree or have agreed by treaty to their suspension or modification.”
The provision is not free from ambiguity, and with a view to remedying it as regards matters of form solely, the following substitute is proposed:
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 régime, be revived, either in full or subject to such modification if any as may have been agreed upon by the powers concerned.
A copy of a draft convention embodying the suggestions submitted in the memorandum is herewith enclosed.