Treaty Series No. 695

Convention between the United States of America and France, Signed at Paris, April 4, 192425

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

Whereas by the Treaty of Peace concluded with the Allied Powers, Turkey renounces all her rights and titles over Syria and the Lebanon, and,

Whereas Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations in the Treaty of Versailles provides that in the case of certain territories which as a consequence of the late war ceased to be under? the sovereignty of the states which formerly governed them, mandates should be issued and that the terms of the mandate should be explicitly defined in each case by the Council of the League, and,

Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed to entrust the mandate for Syria and the Lebanon to France, and,

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

Article 1.—The Mandatory shall frame, within a period of three years from the coming into force of this mandate, an organic law for Syria and the Lebanon.

This organic law shall be framed in agreement with the native authorities and shall take into account the rights, interests, and wishes of all the population inhabiting the said territory. The Mandatory shall further enact measures to facilitate the progressive development of Syria and the Lebanon as independent States. Pending the coming into effect of the organic law, the government of Syria and the Lebanon shall be conducted in accordance with the spirit of this mandate.

The Mandatory shall, as far as circumstances permit, encourage local autonomy.

Article 2.—The Mandatory may maintain its troops in the said territory for its defence. It shall further be empowered, until the entry into force of the organic law and the re-establishment of public security, to organise such local militia as may be necessary for the defence of the territory, and to employ this militia for defence and also for the maintenance of order. These local forces may only be recruited from the inhabitants of the said territory.

The said militia shall thereafter be under the local authorities, subject to the authority and the control which the Mandatory shall retain over these forces. It shall not be used for purposes other than those above specified save with the consent of the Mandatory.

Nothing shall preclude Syria and the Lebanon from contributing to the cost of the maintenance of the forces of the Mandatory stationed in the territory.

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The Mandatory shall at all times possess the right to make use of the ports, railways and means of communication of Syria and the Lebanon for the passage of its troops and of all materials, supplies and fuel.

Article 3.—The Mandatory shall be entrusted with the exclusive control of the foreign relations of Syria and the Lebanon and with the right to issue exequaturs to the consuls appointed by foreign Powers. Nationals of Syria and the Lebanon living outside the limits of the territory shall be under the diplomatic and consular protection of the Mandatory.

Article 4.—The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no part of the territory of Syria and the Lebanon is ceded or leased or in any way placed under the control of a foreign Power.

Article 5.—The privileges and immunities of foreigners, including the benefits of consular jurisdiction and protection as formerly enjoyed by Capitulation or usage in the Ottoman Empire, shall not be applicable in Syria and the Lebanon. Foreign consular tribunals shall, however, continue to perform their duties until the coming into force of the new legal organisation provided for in Article 6.

Unless the Powers whose nationals enjoyed the afore-mentioned privileges and immunities on August 1st, 1914, shall have previously renounced the right to their re-establishment, or shall have agreed to their non-application during a specified period, these privileges and immunities shall at the expiration of the mandate be immediately reestablished in their entirety or with such modifications as may have been agreed upon between the Powers concerned.

Article 6.—The Mandatory shall establish in Syria and the Lebanon a judicial system which shall assure to natives as well as to foreigners a complete guarantee of their rights.

Respect for the personal status of the various peoples and for their religious interests shall be fully guaranteed. In particular, the control and administration of Wakfs shall be exercised in complete accordance with religious law and the dispositions of the founders.

Article 7.—Pending the conclusion of special extradition agreements, the extradition treaties at present in force between foreign Powers and the Mandatory shall apply within the territory of Syria and the Lebanon.

Article 8.—The Mandatory shall ensure to all complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship which are consonant with public order and morality. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Syria and the Lebanon on the ground of differences in race, religion or language.

The Mandatory shall encourage public instruction, which shall be given through the medium of the native languages in use in the territory of Syria and the Lebanon.

The right of each community to maintain its own schools for the instruction and education of its own members in its own language, while conforming to such educational requirements of a general nature as the administration may impose, shall not be denied or impaired.

Article 9.—The Mandatory shall refrain from all interference in the administration of the Councils of management (Conseils de fabrique) or in the management of religious communities and sacred [Page 743] shrines belonging to the various religions, the immunity of which has been expressly guaranteed.

Article 10.—The supervision exercised by the Mandatory over the religious missions in Syria and the Lebanon shall be limited to the maintenance of public order and good government; the activities of these religious missions shall in no way be restricted, nor shall their members be subjected to any restrictive measures on the ground of nationality, provided that their activities are confined to the domain of religion.

The religious missions may also concern themselves with education and relief, subject to the general right of regulation and control by the Mandatory or of the local government, in regard to education, public instruction and charitable relief.

Article 11.—The Mandatory shall see that there is no discrimination in Syria or the Lebanon against the nationals, including societies and associations, of any State Member of the League of Nations as compared with its own nationals, including societies and associations, or with the nationals of any other foreign State in matters concerning taxation or commerce, the exercise of professions or industries, or navigation, or in the treatment of ships or aircraft. Similarly, there shall be no discrimination in Syria or the Lebanon against goods originating in or destined for any of the said States; there shall be freedom of transit, under equitable conditions, across the said territory.

Subject to the above, the Mandatory may impose or cause to be imposed by the local governments such taxes and customs duties as it may consider necessary. The Mandatory, or the local governments acting under its advice, may also conclude on grounds of contiguity any special customs arrangements with an adjoining country.

The Mandatory may take or cause to be taken, subject to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this article, such steps as it may think best to ensure the development of the natural resources of the said territory and to safeguard the interests of the local population.

Concessions for the development of these natural resources shall be granted without distinction of nationality between the nationals of all States Members of the League of Nations, but on condition that they do not infringe upon the authority of the local Government. Concessions in the nature of a general monopoly shall not be granted. This clause shall in no way limit the right of the Mandatory to create monopolies of a purely fiscal character in the interest of the territory of Syria and the Lebanon, and with a view to assuring to the territory the fiscal resources which would appear best adapted to the local needs, or, in certain cases, with a view to developing the natural resources either directly by the State or through an organisation under its control, provided that this does not involve either directly or indirectly the creation of a monopoly of the natural resources in favour of the Mandatory or its nationals, nor involve any preferential treatment which would be incompatible with the economic, commercial and industrial equality guaranteed above.

Article 12.—The Mandatory shall adhere, on behalf of Syria and the Lebanon, to any general international agreements already existing, or which may be concluded hereafter with the approval of the League of Nations, in respect of the following: the slave trade, the [Page 744] traffic in drugs, the traffic in arms and ammunition, commercial equality, freedom of transit and navigation, aerial navigation, postal, telegraphic or wireless communications, and measures for the protection of literature, art or industries.

Article 13.—The Mandatory shall secure the adhesion of Syria and the Lebanon, so far as social, religious and other conditions permit, to such measures of common utility as may be adopted by the League of Nations for preventing and combating disease, including diseases of animals and plants.

Article 14.—The Mandatory shall draw up and put into force within twelve months from this date a law of antiquities in conformity with the following provisions. This law shall ensure equality of treatment in the matter of excavations and archaeological research to the nationals of all States Members of the League of Nations.

“Antiquity” means any construction or any product of human activity earlier than the year 1700 a. d.
The law for the protection of antiquities shall proceed by encouragement rather than by threat.
Any person who, having discovered an antiquity without being furnished with the authorisation referred to in paragraph 5, reports the same to an official of the competent Department, shall be rewarded according to the value of the discovery.
No antiquity may be disposed of except to the competent Department, unless this Department renounces the acquisition of any such antiquity.
No antiquity may leave the country without an export license from the said Department.
Any person who maliciously or negligently destroys or damages an antiquity shall be liable to a penalty to be fixed.
No clearing of ground or digging with the object of finding antiquities shall be permitted, under penalty of fine, except to persons authorised by the competent Department.
Equitable terms shall be fixed for expropriation, temporary or permanent, of lands which might be of historical or archæological interest.
Authorisation to excavate shall only be granted to persons who show sufficient guarantees of archaeological experience. The Mandatory shall not, in granting these authorisations act in such a way as to exclude scholars of any nation without good grounds.
The proceeds of excavations may be divided between the excavator and the competent Department in a proportion fixed by that Department. If division seems impossible for scientific reasons, the excavator shall receive a fair indemnity in lieu of a part of the find.

Article 15.—Upon the coming into force of the organic law referred to in article 1, an arrangement shall be made between the Mandatory and the local governments for reimbursement by the latter of all expenses incurred by the Mandatory in organising the administration, developing local resources, and carrying out permanent public works, of which the country retains the benefit. Such arrangement shall be communicated to the Council of the League of Nations.

Article 16.—French and Arabic shall be the official languages of Syria and the Lebanon,

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Article 17.—The Mandatory shall make to the Council of the League of Nations an annual report to the satisfaction of the Council as to the measures taken during the year to carry out the provisions of this mandate. Copies of all laws and regulations promulgated during the year shall be attached to the said report.

Article 18.—The consent of the Council of the League of Nations is required for any modification of the terms of this mandate.

Article 19.—On the termination of the mandate, the Council of the League of Nations shall use its influence to safeguard for the future the fulfilment by the Government of Syria and the Lebanon of the financial obligations, including pensions and allowances, regularly assumed by the administration of Syria or of the Lebanon during the period of the mandate.

Article 20.—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 mandate in the above terms came into force on September 29, 1923, and,

Whereas the United States of America by participating in the war against Germany contributed to her defeat and the defeat of her allies and to the renunciation of the rights and titles of her allies in the territory transferred by them, but has not ratified the Covenant of the League of Nations embodied in the Treaty of Versailles, and,

Whereas the Government of the United States and the Government of France desire to reach a definite understanding with respect to the rights of the two Governments and their respective nationals in Syria and the Lebanon;

The President of the United States of America and the President of the French Republic have decided to conclude a convention to this effect and have nominated as their Plenipotentiaries:

  • The President of the United States of America.
  • His Excellency Mr. Myron T. Herrick, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to France,
  • 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 as follows:

Article 1

Subject to the provisions of the present convention the United States consents to the administration by the French Republic, pursuant to the aforesaid mandate, of Syria and the Lebanon.

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Article 2

The United States and its nationals shall have and enjoy all the rights and benefits secured under the terms 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 territories shall be respected and in no way impaired.

Article 4

A duplicate of the annual report to be made by the mandatory under Article 17 of the mandate shall be furnished to the United States.

Article 5

Subject to the provisions of any local laws for the maintenance of public order and public morals, the nationals of the United States will be permitted freely to establish and maintain educational, philantropic [sic] and religious institutions in the mandated territory, to receive voluntary applicants and to teach in the English language.

Article 6

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 7

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

Myron T. Herrick

R Poincaré
  1. In English and French; French text not printed. Ratification advised by the Senate, May 14, 1924; ratified by the President, June 5, 1924; ratified by France, July 3, 1924; ratifications exchanged at Paris, July 13, 1924; proclaimed by the President, Aug. 13, 1924.