500.A14/242: Telegram

The Chairman of the American Delegation (Burton) to the Secretary of State

31. Egyptian delegate has called to attention of Conference that in view of regime of capitulations, Egyptian Government would not be in a position to enforce against foreigners of capitulatory countries penalties for infractions of a convention to control of arms treaty [sic], Egyptian delegate proposed: (a) that Egyptian internal regulations be made applicable to all foreigners; (b) that consular authorities be instructed to enforce or assist the Egyptian Government in enforcing the observance of such regulations by their nationals; (c) that the capitulatory powers be moved to instruct their consuls and consular judges in Egypt to apply to infractions of the Egyptian laws committed by their nationals the laws and penalties applicable in their respective countries to similar infractions.

To carry out the above Egyptian delegate suggests “that the text of article two or three should contain an explicit statement that the high contracting parties should institute legislation in their respective countries to render effective the prohibition of export by unauthorized persons and that the introduction of such legislation should nowhere be delayed beyond a date to be fixed by the conference.”

While delegation appreciates the problem facing the countries where extraterritorial rights are enjoyed and situation would presumably be somewhat similar in China and Persia to that in Egypt it is considered that it would create an unfortunate precedent and [Page 52]be unwise even if it should be legally possible to provide that our consuls exercising extraterritorial jurisdiction should enforce provisions of Egyptian law.

Delegation considers however that it might be desirable if Department sees no legal difficulty to include in the convention a provision to the following effect: “The high contracting parties each insofar as it is concerned agree that the penalties which may be prescribed under legislation to carry out the terms of the present convention shall so far as possible be made applicable to their nationals in the case of any infractions of the convention by their nationals within the territory of states where extraterritorial rights are exercised.”

Burton