767.68119P/6: Telegram

The Special Mission at Lausanne to the Secretary of State

265. Discussion of article 26 this afternoon evoked statement from British delegation that Allies could not subscribe to assertion that capitulatory regime was abolished by unilateral act of Turks in view of neutral rights under capitulations and rights of powers who had observers only. Ismet stated that state of war had invalidated treaties so far as belligerents were concerned. At this juncture, believing that it was appropriate opportunity to define our legal position and incidentally to advance an interest which we have in common with the Allies, I made the following statement:

“The subject under discussion is one of particular interest to the United States.

As indicated by Mr. Child in statements made at this conference on December 24 and December 285 last, my Government is firmly of the opinion that the rights assured to American citizens and other foreigners by virtue of treaties could not lawfully be terminated by the act of one of the parties to those treaties. My Government has more than once expressed its willingness to consider, at an appropriate time, the revision of its existing treaties with Turkey. It has at no time, however, acquiesced in the view that the unilateral declaration of the Sublime Porte in 1914 has or could lawfully have the effect of terminating any of the rights assured to foreigners under such treaties.”

  1. In telegram no. 53, Dec. 3, 1922, from the Special Mission at Lausanne (not printed), there is reported a brief statement by Mr. Child, to the effect that the United States associated itself with the Allies on the question of capitulations, but that both sides had a common interest in the satisfactory solution of the problem.
  2. See telegram no. 157, Dec. 28, 1922, from the Special Mission at Lausanne, p. 936.