The Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Yehia Pasha) to the American Minister in Egypt (Jardine)5
Mr. Minister: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Note dated March 3, 1931,7 by which Your Excellency was good enough, in referring to a former note, dated April 18, 1929, addressed to His Excellency Mohamed Mahmoud Pasha, then Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, ad interim, to express again the interest which the Government of the United States attaches to the question of the representation of the principal Capitulatory Powers on the bench of the Mixed Courts.
The Note above mentioned of April 18th, having been forwarded upon the occasion of the proposals for the modification of the Judicial Organization of the Mixed Courts, made by the Government of His Majesty the King in December 1927,8 and October 1928,9 and the realization of these proposals not having been followed up since then, it resulted that this Ministry has not again expressed, following this note, the point of view of the Egyptian Government on this question.
But the last Note of Your Excellency, of March 3, 1931, indicating that the Government of the United States would be inclined to interpret the relatively recent nomination of a judge of American nationality to the Cairo Court, and that which has just occurred, of a judge of French nationality to the Mansourah Court, as the expression of an intention of the Egyptian Government to arrive at an equal representation of the principal Capitulatory Powers, I take the liberty of again explaining the point of view of the Government of His Majesty the King. Apart from the arrangements admitted with certain powers to select from among their nationals a certain number of judges, Egypt remains entirely free to choose the judges called to fill the supplementary seats.[Page 144]
The letter of Sir Henry Elliot of May 26, 1873,10 to which reference is made in the Note of April 18, 1929, constitutes only an episode in the long negotiations which preceded the establishment of the Mixed Courts and during the course of which various opinions were expressed at certain times, by one or another of the States taking part in these negotiations. The opinion expressed in this letter by the representative of Great Britain was never shared in by the Khedivial Government. Furthermore, it is shown by the convention entered into between Egypt and Great Britain on July 31, 1875,11 for the establishment of the Mixed Courts that the above-mentioned letter formed no part of this convention and was not mentioned therein.
On the other hand, according to the opinion of the Government of His Majesty the King, “to avoid giving a preponderance of one nationality over another in the choice of judges”, following the terms employed by Sir Henry Elliot according to the citation from his letter made in the Note of April 18, 1929, is not equivalent to applying the principle of equality in the number of judges of each nationality.
Such a rule would be of a nature to embarrass considerably the Egyptian Government in the composition of the Mixed Courts according to needs and circumstances, and would greatly hamper it in the proper administration of justice.
Finally, in stating that it has no agreement in this respect, the Government of His Majesty the King considers that there does not exist at the present time, nor has existed at any time, the preponderance, envisaged in the phrase of Sir Henry Elliot, in the mixed judicial corps, to the benefit of a particular nationality.
- Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in Egypt in his despatch No. 196, June 11: received July 2.↩
- File translation revised.↩
- See supra.↩
- See circular note of the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs dated December , 1927, Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. ii, p. 747.↩
- See note of the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs to the American Minister dated October 28, 1928, ibid., p. 767.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1873, vol. ii, p. 1118.↩
- British and Foreign State Papers, vol. lxvi, p. 106.↩