Treaty Series No. 690

Convention between the United States of America and France, Signed at Paris, February 13, 192312

The President of the United States of America and the President of the French Republic,

Whereas by Article 119 of the Treaty of Peace signed at Versailles the 28th of June, 1919, Germany renounced in favor of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers all her rights and titles over her oversea possessions; 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 [Page 9] 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 under the aforesaid Article 119 of the Treaty of Versailles were confirmed to the United States by the Treaty between the United States and Germany, signed August 25, 1921, to restore friendly relations between the two nations; and

Whereas four of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, to wit: the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan, agreed that France should exercise the mandate for part of the former German Colony of the Cameroons; and

Whereas the terms of the said mandate have been defined by the Council of the League of Nations as follows:

Article 1.—The territory for which a mandate is conferred upon France comprises that part of the Cameroons which lies to the east of the line laid down in the Declaration signed on July 10th, 1919, of which copy is annexed hereto.13

This line may, however, be slightly modified by mutual agreement between His Britannic Majesty’s Government and the Government of the French Republic where an examination of the localities shows that it is undesirable, either in the interest of the inhabitants or by reason of any inaccuracies in the map Moisel 1/300,000,14 annexed to the Declaration, to adhere strictly to the line laid down therein.

The delimitation on the spot of this line shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the said Declaration.

The final report of the Mixed Commission shall give the exact description of the boundary line as traced on the spot; maps signed by the Commissioners shall be annexed to the report. This report with its annexes shall be drawn up in triplicate; one of these shall be deposited in the archives of the League of Nations, one shall be kept by the Government of the Republic and one by His Britannic Majesty’s Government.

Article 2.—The Mandatory shall be responsible for the peace, order and good government of the territory and for the promotion to the utmost of the material and moral well-being and the social progress of its inhabitants.

Article 3.—The Mandatory shall not establish in the territory any military or naval bases, nor erect any fortifications, nor organize any native military force except for local police purposes and for the defence of the territory.

It is understood, however, that the troops thus raised may, in the event of general war, be utilized to repel an attack or for defence of the territory outside that subject to the mandate.

[Page 10]

Article 4.—The Mandatory:

Shall provide for the eventual emancipation of all slaves, and for as speedy an elimination of domestic and other slavery as social conditions will allow;
Shall suppress all forms of slave trade;
Shall prohibit all forms of forced or compulsory labor, except for essential public works and services, and then only in return for adequate remuneration;
Shall protect the natives from measures of fraud and force by the careful supervision of labor contracts and the recruiting of labor;
Shall exercise a strict control over the traffic in arms and ammunition and the sale of spirituous liquors.

Article 5.—In the framing of laws relating to the holding or transference of land, the Mandatory shall take into consideration native laws and customs, and shall respect the rights and safeguard the interests of the native population.

No native land may be transferred, except between natives, without the previous consent of the public authorities, and no real rights over native land in favor of non-natives may be created except with the same consent.

The Mandatory shall promulgate strict regulations against usury.

Article 6.—The mandatory shall secure to all nationals of States Members of the League of Nations the same rights as are enjoyed in the territory by his own nationals in respect of entry into and residence in the territory, the protection afforded to their person and property, movable and immovable, and the exercise of their profession or trade, subject only to the requirements of public order, and on condition of compliance with the local law.

Further, the Mandatory shall ensure to all nationals of States Members of the League of Nations, on the same footing as his 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 he thinks just.

Concessions for the development of the natural resources of the territory shall be granted by the Mandatory without distinction on grounds of nationality between the nationals of all States Members of the League of Nations, but on such conditions as will maintain intact the authority of the local Government.

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 his nationals, directly or indirectly, nor any preferential advantage which shall be inconsistent with the economic, commercial and industrial equality hereinbefore guaranteed.

The rights conferred by this article extend equally to companies and associations organized in accordance with the law of any of the [Page 11] Members of the League of Nations, subject only to the requirements of public order, and on condition of compliance with the local law.

Article 7.—The Mandatory shall ensure in the territory complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship which are consonant with public order and morality; missionaries who are nationals of States Members of the League of Nations 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 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 8.—The Mandatory shall apply to the territory any general international conventions applicable to his contiguous territory.

Article 9.—The Mandatory shall have full powers of administration and legislation in the area subject of the mandate. This area shall be administered in accordance with the laws of the Mandatory as an integral part of his territory and subject to the above provisions.

The Mandatory shall therefore be at liberty to apply his laws to the territory subject to the mandate with such modifications as may be required by local conditions, and to constitute the territory into a customs, fiscal or administrative union or federation with the adjacent territories under his sovereignty or control; provided always that the measures adopted to that end do not infringe the provisions of this mandate.

Article 10.—The Mandatory shall make to the Council of the League of Nations an annual report to the satisfaction of the Council. This report shall contain full information concerning the measures taken to apply the provisions of this mandate.

Article 11.—The consent of the Council of the League of Nations is required for any modification of the terms of the present mandate.

Article 12.—The Mandatory agrees that, if any dispute whatever should arise between the Mandatory and another Member of the League of Nations relating to the interpretation or the application of the provisions of the mandate, such dispute, if it cannot be settled by negotiation, shall be submitted to the Permanent Court of International Justice provided for by Article 14 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.

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, but has not ratified the Treaty of Versailles; and

Whereas the Government of the United States and the Government of the French Republic desire to reach a definite understanding with regard to the rights of the two Governments and their respective nationals in the aforesaid former German Colony of the Cameroons;

Have decided to conclude a convention to this effect, and have nominated as their respective plenipotentiaries, that is to say: [Page 12]

  • The President of the United States of America:
  • His Excellency Mr. Myron T. Herrick, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America at Paris;
  • And the President of the French Republic:
  • M. Raymond Poincaré, Senator, President of the Council, Minister of Foreign Affairs;

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 the Government of the French Republic, pursuant to the aforesaid mandate, of the former German territory, described in Article 1 of the mandate.

Article 2

The United States and its nationals shall have and enjoy all the rights and benefits secured under the terms of Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the mandate to Members of the League of Nations and their nationals, notwithstanding the fact that the United States is not a member of the League of Nations.

Article 3

Vested American property rights in the mandated territory shall be respected and in no way impaired.

Article 4

A duplicate of the annual report to be made by the Mandatory under Article 10 of the mandate shall be furnished to the United States.

Article 5

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 6

The extradition treaties and conventions in force between the United States and France shall apply to the mandated territory.

Article 7

The present convention shall be ratified in accordance with the respective constitutional methods of the High Contracting Parties. [Page 13] The ratifications shall be exchanged in Paris as soon as practicable. It 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.

Myron T. Herrick

R. Poincaré
  1. In English and French; French text not printed. Ratification advised by the Senate, Mar. 3, 1924; ratified by the President, Mar. 14, 1924; ratified by France, Apr. 24, 1924; ratifications exchanged at Paris, June 3, 1924; proclaimed by the President, July 3, 1924.
  2. Not printed; the Franco-British declarations of July 10, 1919, relating to the Cameroons and Togoland are published in British and Foreign State Papers, 1923, pt. ii, vol. cxviii, pp. 887 and 893.
  3. In the Franco-British declaration relating to Togoland the reference is to “the map, Sprigade 1:200,000.”