The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Egypt (Winship)
Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 259 of May 16, 1928 with further reference to the request of the Egyptian Government that this Government consent to extending to the hours from sunset to sunrise the privilege of searching the domiciles of American [Page 784]nationals for the purpose of facilitating the task of the agents of the Department of Excises of the Egyptian Ministry of Finance in the investigation of premises under suspicion of concealing illegal distilleries.
The statements made in your despatch under acknowledgment of the information you have received regarding the positions adopted in this matter by the British as well as by the French, Italian and Greek representatives in Egypt have been noted. The British position appears to the Department to be substantially that taken by the Department in the second paragraph of its instruction No. 355 of February 23, 1928, for the reported British reservation “that the British Consular Officers should be informed in advance in each case and a representative of a British Consulate be present” is adequately covered by the pertinent provisions of the Protocol of 1874. The position reported to have been taken by your French, Italian and Greek colleagues that acquiescence in the Egyptian request would constitute “an infringement of a national law” is not taken by this Government. However, this Government would not wish to see its nationals in Egypt treated in a less favorable manner than the nationals of these or other countries. Having in mind, therefore, that there may not be general acquiescence on the part of the capitulatory powers in the present request of the Egyptian Government, the Department, in reply to the request for further instructions set forth in your present despatch, desires that you limit your reply to the Foreign Office note to an acknowledgment and statement of this Government’s position in the following sense:
I have the honor to refer to Your Excellency’s notes of . . . . . . . . . and . . . . . . . . . as well as to my replies of . . . . . . . . . and . . . . . . . . . with respect to the request of Your Excellency’s Government that my Government consent to extending to the hours from sunset to sunrise the privilege of searching the domiciles of American nationals for the purpose of facilitating the task of the agents of the Department of Excises of the Egyptian Ministry of Finance in the investigation of premises under suspicion of concealing illegal distilleries.
I am now pleased to inform Your Excellency, under instructions from my Government, that, if and when the other powers enjoying capitulatory privileges in Egypt give their consent to such extension of the privilege of search and on the condition which it assumes the Egyptian Government has likewise in mind that all searches shall be carried out under the restrictions created by the applicable treaties and the Protocol of 1874, the consent of the Government of the United States will be given, such consent to be effective as of the date on which notification thereof shall be communicated to the Egyptian Government.
I am directed by my Government to add that it will of course be understood that, if, under the conditions outlined above, my Government’s [Page 785]consent becomes effective and an American national whose domicile is searched is found to have transgressed the applicable provisions of law in such a way as would subject him to penalties greater than those of simple police, the case will be turned over to the appropriate American Consular Court for action.”
I am [etc.]