883.927/105: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Egypt (Howell)


9. (1) Department understands from your telegram No. 11 of April 7 that you recommend the immediate presentation of American note as drafted. Embassy in France reports that Government of France agrees in principle and has authorized French Minister in Egypt to hand Egyptian Government a note distincte. It prefers such a method of communication to a note identique. The Department assumes that the British High Commissioner is prepared to take similar action.

(2) In Legation’s despatch No. 774 dated March 1521 you suggested a delay in the presentation of the note (1) because of the internal Egyptian political situation, and (2) because of the divergent views of American archeologists in Egypt.

(3) In order that the present situation may be clarified you are instructed to report:

Whether political situation as reported in your despatch has changed sufficiently to make immediate presentation of note opportune.
Whether the divergent views of the archeologists have been reconciled. If the political situation has changed, Breasted’s objections to immediate presentation of note appear to fall. Reisner’s objections, however, do not appear to result from considerations based on the political situation.
Whether, if Reisner maintains his position, any modification should be made in draft of note. According to Lythgoe, Lacau22 recently expressed to Winlock his hearty approval and support to the measures proposed in the note and suggests that Reisner discuss the matter with Lacau before coming to a final decision. You may indicate to Reisner that the assurances which are requested in the proposed note are in Lacau’s phraseology and say that if you are authorized to present note, the Department will instruct you to state orally that the Government of the United States would be pleased [Page 69] to receive in reply from the Egyptian Foreign Office a statement informing you that the Egyptian Government adheres to the principles set forth therein. The Department attaches importance to Reisner’s views and wishes his concurrence in the presentation of the note, unless he feels that his interests would be seriously prejudiced by so doing.

The original representations to the Department of State which resulted in the draft note were made in 1925 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Universities of Chicago and Pennsylvania, and the National Research Council which represented American scientific opinion regarding the necessity for safeguarding future foreign archeological work in Egypt. Since then, Kelsey,23 of the University of Michigan has approved text of the proposed note. The Department has been informed that the Rockefeller Committee now states that immediate presentation of note will not prejudice realization of its museum project.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Pierre Lacau, Director General, Antiquities Service.
  3. Francis W. Kelsey, head of the Near East Research Expedition.