Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The Egyptian Minister called yesterday to present me an invitation to attend a Conference called to consider questions pertaining to the Mixed Court in Egypt. I told him it would receive our sympathetic consideration; that we had to ask for an appropriation for the expenses of such a Conference and I could not, therefore, tell him off-hand [Page 765] whether we could attend or not. After he had presented the invitation, he asked me if I had forgotten about the extraterritorial question. I told him that I had not forgotten about it but I had really not had time to go into the matter and give it careful consideration. I asked him whether the present conference had anything to do with it. He said the present conference had to do with changing the Mixed Court and his Government was in favor of that but that this was only a part of the matter. What Egypt wanted was to do away with the whole extraterritorial right. I had understood him previously to say that the particular complaint they had was the extraterritorial rights pertaining to the fiscal administration, that is the exemption of taxes by foreigners, etc. I asked him what the foreign countries were going to do. He said Egypt did not believe they could get all the fifteen nations to agree and, therefore, a conference ought to be called and he was in hopes the United States would take the lead. I said I could not give him any assurances at this time; that I was not familiar enough with the subject.