The Ambassador in Great Britain (Dawes) to the Secretary of State

No. 101

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram No. 205, July 25, 1929, 3 p.m.,8 and to forward herewith the draft Convention between the United States, the United Kingdom and Iraq, with Annexes.9 The explanatory Foreign Office note states that as soon as a reply is received as to various points set forth they will proceed to prepare the documents for signature.

I have [etc.]

(For the Ambassador)
Ray Atherton

Counselor of Embassy

The Head of the Eastern Department, British Foreign Office (Monteagle), to the Counselor of the American Embassy (Atherton)

No. E 3723/171/93

My Dear Atherton: In my letter to you of February 18 under our No. E 751/245/93, I explained to you that the final stages of negotiating the proposed Convention between the United States, the United Kingdom and Iraq had to be held up until a new Government in Iraq should announce that they were ready to proceed to signature. When Belin10 rang me up some weeks ago to ask whether there were any developments, I told him that a new Government had only recently been formed at Bagdad and that we were still waiting for news.

We have now heard officially from the Colonial Office that Jafar Pasha, the Iraqi Minister in London, has been authorised by his Government to sign on their behalf and in terms upon which we are already agreed, both the Convention and the Protocol containing the Assurances—(you will remember that a Protocol was suggested in the memorandum which accompanied Mr. Houghton’s note No. 2133 of December 12th).

Jafar Pasha has, however, received a further instruction from his Government with reference to the Assurance about American schools: this Assurance figures as Article 2 of the Protocol which I am sending you in draft form herewith marked Annex A.8 He has been instructed to point out to the United States plenipotentiary prior to signature of the Convention, and to obtain an acknowledgment from him, that [Page 296] the provisions of Article 2 of the Protocol will not override the provisions of Article 28 of the new Iraqi Public Instruction Law of 1929 which came into force on April 22nd. Article 28 of this law reads as follows:

“It is obligatory to teach the Arabic language and the history and geography of Iraq and the history of the Arabs in accordance with the prospectus of the Ministry of Education in all private schools, primary and secondary. The hours devoted to the Arabic language must not be less than five hours a week in primary classes and three hours in the secondary classes”.

The High Commissioner for Iraq has explained to us that the new law will not introduce any change into existing practice. At the present day a private school, before receiving permission to open, has to obtain the approval of the Minister to its curriculum, and such curricula invariably contain provisions for the teaching of Arabic, and would not be approved did they not contain such provisions. All that the law does is to compel the Minister to follow the present practice.

The communication therefore which Jafar will want to make is, as far as we can see, non-contentious. If you are able to accept and acknowledge it, it would, we think, involve an exchange of notes between the United States and Iraqi plenipotentiaries only, as it is a simple statement, and not an Assurance. I will try to arrange for Jafar to show you as early as possible a draft of the note which he would propose to address to the United States Plenipotentiary. That and the United States note of acknowledgment could be signed at the same time as the Convention itself, the Protocol, and the notes which our two Governments are to exchange in regard to the duplicate annual report to the Council of the League of Nations.

Turning to the draft Protocol you will see that, apart from altering “American” into “of the United States of America” in the second, and textual alterations in the third Articles, it follows the lines of your memorandum already referred to. It also includes under Article 4, the text of the Assurance in regard to possible expropriation of the United States property, as it stands on page 4 of your letter to Oliphant12 of March 14th, 1927,13 under the heading Paragraph 9.

The Convention itself, of which I am enclosing a copy in what we hope and believe to be its final form, marked Annex B,14 is practically identical with the one Mr. Houghton sent us on December 12th, 1928. On technical grounds, however, we have introduced the following minor textual amendments in the Preamble:— [Page 297]

Section II. “His Britannic Majesty’s Government” has been substituted for “British Government”.
Section V. The words “in Great Britain” have been omitted after “His Britannic Majesty’s Government”.
Section XI. The word “of” is omitted between “Ireland” and “British Dominions”.

If you are able to concur in the procedure proposed above, there would be in all four documents for signature:—

The Convention.
The Protocol.
The exchange of notes in regard to our undertaking to furnish a duplicate annual report. Drafts of these are given in Annexes C and C1:15 they follow closely your memorandum of December 12th.
The exchange of notes over Jafar Pasha’s statement as to Article 2 of the Protocol.

Of these, Nos. 1 and 2 would be signed by all three plenipotentiaries: No. 3 by the United States and British, and No. 4 by the United States and Iraqi plenipotentiaries.

Jafar Pasha has enquired who the other plenipotentiaries will be. May we assume that your Ambassador will sign on behalf of the United States Government?

As soon as I get your reply to the various points in this letter, we will proceed to prepare the documents for signature with all despatch. I am of course at your disposal if you want to clear up any points by conversation.

Yours sincerely,

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed; for texts as signed January 9, 1930, see pp. 302308.
  3. F. Lammot Belin, First Secretary of the American Embassy in Great Britain.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Lancelot Oliphant, then Head of the Eastern Department, British Foreign Office.
  6. Not printed; it was based on instruction No. 848, March 1, 1927, from the Acting Secretary of State, Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. ii, p. 802.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Not printed.