800.01 M 31/180a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Harvey)


287. (1) You are instructed to present the following note to the Foreign Office:29

“I have the honor to refer to previous communications on the subject of mandates.

The matter of the so-called ‘A’ mandates has, of course, been in abeyance pending the settlement of Near Eastern questions.

As to the ‘B’ mandates, conventions were signed between the United States and France on February 13, 1923,30 in regard to those parts of Togoland and the Cameroons that are under French mandate, and between the United States and Belgium on April 18, 1923 in regard to the territory of Ruanda and Urundi.31 In relation to the British ‘B’ mandates covering portions of Togoland and the Cameroons, I am awaiting reply to my communication of March 24, 1923.32 I had the honor in that communication to inform your Lordship that my Government, animated by the desire to reach an early agreement with the British Government and in view of your assurances that the British Government did not have the slightest intention to discriminate against United States nationals or institutions by subjecting their operations to restrictions not equally applicable to British nationals and institutions, was disposed to accept the wording proposed by the British Government in Article 8 of the mandate for East Africa and Article 7 of the mandates for Togoland and the Cameroons, which are substantially similar to paragraph 1 of Article 2 of the treaty between the United States and Japan regarding the former German Islands north of the equator without making this acceptance subject to the insertion in the treaties of an additional article. I stated that it was to be understood, however, that this acquiescence in the proposals of the British Government with regard to African mandates would in no way affect the position heretofore taken by the Government of the United States with respect to American missionary and educational institutions in territories which might come under ‘A’ mandates.

The only point of difference between the two Governments with respect to the ‘B’ mandates appears to be in relation to the recitals of the preamble of the proposed treaty. It may again be pointed out that the preamble as proposed by my Government is substantially the same as that used in the French and Belgian conventions with respect to ‘B’ mandates, and in the treaty with Japan with respect to the former German islands in the Pacific Ocean north of the equator.33 I again express the hope that this wording, which [Page 236] has been found acceptable by these three Governments, will be approved by the British Government, especially as it is not understood that there is any difference in the attitude or policy of the British Government which would require a difference in statement.

I desire at this time to refer particularly to the ‘C’ mandates covering the former German possessions in the Pacific Ocean south of the equator and the territory which formerly constituted German Southwest Africa. As you have been advised, a treaty was concluded between the United States and Japan in relation to the north Pacific islands for which His Majesty the Emperor of Japan is the mandatory. This treaty, signed on February 11, 1922, became effective on July 13, 1922. The general subject of the relation of the United States to mandated territories was considered in the communication which I made to your Lordship, under instructions from my Government, on August 24, 1921.34 In this communication I referred to the position already taken by my Government that the right to dispose of the overseas possessions of Germany was acquired only through the victory of the Allied and Associated Powers and that there could be no valid or effective disposition of these territories without the assent of the United States as one of the participants in that victory. It was assumed, in this view, and in the light of the fundamental principles recognized by the British Government as applicable to the administration of mandated territories, that there would be no disposition to discriminate against the United States or to refuse to safeguard equality of commercial opportunity. …

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In your communication of December 22, 1921,35 your Lordship stated that His Majesty’s Government had never desired to deprive the United States of the fruits of victory to which it had contributed, and as they were quite willing to meet the wishes of the United States as regards the British mandates it did not seem necessary to enter into a detailed examination of the general considerations contained in the American note. And in your Lordship’s communication of December 29, 1921,36 it was stated that His Majesty’s Government emphatically disclaimed any intention on their part to discriminate against United States nationals and companies or to refuse them full equality of commercial opportunity. These notes, however, so far as the particular provisions of the mandates were concerned, dealt with ‘A’ and ‘B’ mandates and did not take up the specific proposals that had been made by this Government as to the ‘C’ mandates.

On July 26, 1922,37 I addressed a further communication to Lord Balfour inviting attention more specifically to certain matters relating to the administration of the regions in question, in which the point of view of the Government of the United States was further defined. …

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[Page 237]

The reply of His Majesty’s Government, under date of August 12, 1922,38 stated that the desiderata of the United States Government would receive the most careful consideration in consultation with the Governments of the Dominions concerned, and that their views would be presented in due course.

In view of the desirability of an early agreement upon these questions, I trust that it may be helpful to present the views of the United States Government in two draft forms of conventions proposed to be concluded between His Majesty’s Government and the Government of the United States for the purpose of settling definitely the relation of my Government to the regions in question. The first draft form is that which it is proposed shall be followed in the conventions concerning the territory formerly the German Protectorate of Southwest Africa, the island of Nauru and the former German island possessions in the Pacific Ocean south of the equator, other than the island of Nauru and former German Samoa. The second draft convention relates to former German Samoa.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In proposing these conventions my Government has proceeded upon the assumption that there is no difference in principle between the Government of the United States and the British Government as to the appropriate administration of mandate territories and my Government has had in mind the repeated disclaimers by your Lordship of any intention on the part of His Majesty’s Government to deprive the United States of any of the rights and privileges to which it is entitled by the common victory over Germany or to discriminate against the United States nationals and companies. In view of these cordial assurances, the Government of the United States is confident that His Majesty’s Government will have no disposition to withhold from the United States such guarantees with respect to the ‘C’ mandates as may be appropriate in order to safeguard American rights and interests in the territories and islands in question.

Accept, etc.”

(2) The following is text of draft convention relating to British “C” mandates except Samoa. This text should accompany note:

“Whereas, by Article 119 of the Treaty of Peace signed at Versailles the 28th day of June, 1919, Germany renounced in favor of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers all her rights and titles over her oversea possessions, including therein blank; and

Whereas, by Article 22 of the same instrument it was provided that certain territories, which as a result of the war had ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them, should be placed under the mandate of another power and that the terms of the mandate should be explicitly defined in each case by the Council of the League of Nations; and

Whereas, the benefits accruing to the United States under the aforesaid Article 119 of the Treaty of Versailles were confirmed by [Page 238] the treaty between the United States and Germany signed August 25, 1921, to restore friendly relations between the two nations;39 and

Whereas, four of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, to wit: The British Empire, France, Italy and Japan agreed to confer upon His Britannic Majesty a mandate to be exercised on his behalf by blank (hereinafter called the Mandatory) to administer the territory of blank; and

Whereas, the terms of the said mandate have been defined by the Council of the League of Nations as follows: (Here insert terms of Mandate); and

Whereas, the United States of America, by participating in the war against Germany, contributed to her defeat and to the renunciation of her rights and titles over her oversea possessions, including blank, but has not ratified the Treaty of Versailles; and

Whereas, the Government of the United States and His Britannic Majesty desire to reach a definite understanding with regard to the rights of the two Governments and their respective nationals in the aforesaid former German territory of blank;

The President of the United States and His Britannic Majesty have decided to conclude a convention to this effect and have nominated as their respective plenipotentiaries:

  • The President of the United States of America blank, and
  • His Britannic Majesty blank,

Who, after communicating to each other their respective full powers found in good and due form, have agreed upon the following provisions:

  • Article 1. Subject to the provisions of the present convention the United States consents to the administration by blank on behalf of His Britannic Majesty, pursuant to the aforesaid mandate, of the former German territory of blank described in Article 1 of the mandate.
  • Article 2. The United States and its nationals shall have and enjoy the benefit of the engagements of the Mandatory defined in Articles 3, 4 and 5 of the Mandate, notwithstanding the fact that the United States is not a member of the League of Nations.
  • Article 3. The Mandatory shall insure in the territory subject to the present mandate complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship which are consonant with public order and morality. American missionaries of all such religions shall be free to enter the territory and to travel and reside therein, to acquire and possess property, to erect religious buildings and to open schools throughout the mandated territory; it being understood, however, that the Mandatory shall have the right to exercise such control as may be necessary for the maintenance of public order and good government and to take all measures required for such control.
  • Article 4. Vested American property rights in the mandated territory shall be respected and in no way impaired.
  • Article 5. The Mandatory shall secure to nationals of the United States of America the same rights as are enjoyed in the mandated [Page 239] territory by nationals of the Mandatory in respect of entry into and residence in the territory, the protection afforded to their person and property, the acquisition of property movable or immovable, and the exercise of their profession or trade.
  • Article 6. The Mandatory shall ensure to the nationals of the United States of America on the same footing as its own nationals freedom of transit and navigation, and complete economic, commercial and industrial equality; provided that the Mandatory shall be free to organize essential public works and services on such terms and conditions as it thinks just.
  • Article 7. With respect to import or export duties, other dues or charges, and prohibitions and restrictions affecting commerce, the Mandatory shall not enforce in the mandated territory any provisions of law or administrative regulations involving any discrimination in favor of the nationals or of the products and manufactures of any other member of the League of Nations or any independent state or sub-division thereof, having a separate tariff system, against the nationals or the products and manufactures of the United States. With respect to mandated territory the Mandatory shall extend equally and unconditionally to the commerce of the United States any favor or concession granted to the commerce of any member of the League of Nations other than the mandatory or of any independent state or sub-division thereof having a separate tariff system.
  • Article 8. 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, nor any preferential advantage which shall be inconsistent with the economic, commercial and industrial equality hereinbefore guaranteed.
  • Concessions for the development of the natural resources of the mandated territory shall be granted by the Mandatory to nationals of the United States of America on an equal footing with its own nationals.
  • Article 9. A duplicate of the annual report to be made by the Mandatory under Article 6 of the mandate shall be furnished to the United States.
  • Article 10. Nothing contained in the present convention shall be affected by any modification which may be made in the terms of the mandate as recited above unless such modification shall have been assented to by the United States.
  • Article 11. The provisions of Article 10 of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, of the Extradition Convention of July 12, 1889, of the Supplementary Extradition Treaty of September [December] 13, 1900, and of the Supplementary Extradition Convention of April 12, 1905 between the United States and Great Britain shall apply to the Mandated territory.
  • Subject to the provisions of the present Convention, other treaty provisions in force between the United States and Great Britain, which are applicable to the territories of the Mandatory, shall also apply to the mandated territory.
  • Article 12. The present Convention shall be ratified in accordance with the respective constitutional methods of the High Contracting Parties. The ratifications of the Convention shall be exchanged as soon as practicable. The Convention shall take effect on the date of the exchange of ratifications.

In witness whereof the respective plenipotentiaries have signed this Convention and have affixed thereto their seals.

Done in duplicate at blank, the blank day of blank, in the year of blank.”

(3) Draft of Convention concerning Samoa is same as foregoing with the following substituted for Article 7:

“Article 7. The United States shall continue to enjoy in respect to its commerce and commercial vessels in ex-German Samoa privileges and conditions equal to those enjoyed by the Mandatory in all ports which may be open to the commerce of the latter.

No other or higher import or export duties or other dues or charges, prohibitions or restrictions affecting commerce shall be applied to the nationals, or to the products or manufactures of the United States, than are applied to the nationals or to the products or manufactures of the Mandatory.”

(4) In preparing copies of draft conventions it will not be necessary to quote terms of mandates in text of preamble, but merely to indicate appropriately in the text that it is proposed to insert their terms in the passage in question.

(5) Please mail at once full text of note and draft conventions as delivered.

  1. Note addressed to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Oct. 25.
  2. Ante, p. 8.
  3. Vol. i, p. 433.
  4. See telegram no. 61, Mar. 21, to the Ambassador in Great Britain, p. 228.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. ii, p. 600.
  6. See telegram no. 448, Aug. 4, 1921, to the Ambassador in Great Britain, Foreign Relations, 1921, vol. ii, p. 106.
  7. ibid., p. 111.
  8. ibid., p. 115.
  9. See telegram no. 218, July 24, 1922, to the Ambassador in Great Britain, p. 232.
  10. Not printed.
  11. Foreign Relations, 1921, vol. ii, p. 29.