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

No. 17

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s special written instruction No. 148 of August 29, 1930, enclosing, in the thought that it might serve as a model for a definitive commercial convention between the United States and Egypt, a copy [Page 757] of a draft commercial treaty with Rumania. The Legation is directed to study the provisions of this draft treaty, giving special consideration to those which might be inserted in order to preserve to the American Government the privileges and benefits which it has acquired in Egypt under treaty, custom and usage.

Before endeavoring to comply with the Department’s wishes I desire to report that a decree-law, No. 45 of 1930, has been published in the Official Journal of the Egyptian Government, No. 105 of November 5, 1930, prescribing that:

(Translation): “Article 6 of Law No. 2 of 1930 is modified as follows: ‘The Government is authorized to conclude with foreign Governments accords granting most-favored-nation treatment, provided that the duration of such accords shall not exceed two years from the coming into force of the present law.’”

The effect of this decree is to prolong for another year, beginning February 17, 1931, the “provisional tariff regime” made effective by the said Law No. 2 of 1930, copies of which were forwarded to the Department with the Legation’s despatch No. 405 of June 16, 1930.24 This prolongation has, of course, been required by the recent political changes in this country. It was the intention of the Wafd Ministry that there should be considered and passed this fall upon the reconvening of Parliament a definitive tariff law. The dissolution of that body has made such action impossible and present indications are that new parliamentary elections cannot be held before January next at the earliest. The reaction of certain of my colleagues to the present situation and to the law quoted above is that we need not expect to receive from the Egyptian Government any proposals for the conclusion of definitive commercial treaties for at least another year. The Legation will, however, follow this question closely and report further should developments in the situation warrant.

As to the general applicability to Egypt of the text of the United States-Rumanian Treaty of Commerce and Navigation, I have no particular comment to offer at this time. It appears to cover the ground thoroughly but may, as the Department suggests, require certain minor modifications to meet the views of the Egyptian Government, if and when they are expressed. For instance, the Egyptian Government will, if the drafts of its present provisional accords may be taken as a guide, wish to add to Article 13 a sentence to the following effect:

“… Nor does it apply to the regime accorded to Sudanese products or the regime which might be applied by Egypt to products of certain border countries by virtue of regional conventions.”

[Page 758]

On the question of the insertion of a provision destined to preserve to the American Government the privileges and benefits acquired under treaty, custom and usage, the Department may wish to consider the propriety of suggesting the insertion of a special article, between Articles 13 and 14, to the following effect:

“In the conclusion of the foregoing articles of the present treaty full reservation is made by the United States of America and recognized by Egypt with regard to all rights enjoyed in Egypt by the United States under treaty, custom and usage.”

Respectfully yours,

W. M. Jardine
  1. Not printed.