The Secretary of State to the Egyptian Chargé (Kamel)

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Chargè d’Affaires ad interim of Egypt and has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of his note of January 14, 1927, asking if the laws of the United States restrict in any way the right of foreign governments to own property.

The Secretary of State has the honor to inform the Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of Egypt that the Government of the United States places no restrictions on the owning of property for Embassy or Legation purposes by foreign governments in the District of Columbia. It may be stated, however, that real property in the District of Columbia is subject in general to the laws of real property in force in the District notwithstanding that it may be owned by a foreign government.

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The Commissioners of the District of Columbia have informed the Department that the following rules regarding exemption from taxation under international usage have been adopted by the Commissioner under the advice of the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia:

“Property owned by foreign governments and used for legation purposes is exempt from general and special taxes or assessments. Property owned by a minister and used for legation purposes is exempt from general taxes but not from special assessments for improvements.”

There are also expenses incident to the property not in the nature of the tax which of course should be paid by the foreign government.