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

No. 108

Sir: The receipt is acknowledged of your despatch No. 196 of June 11, 1931,12 regarding the equality of representation of the principal capitulatory Powers on the Mixed Courts of Egypt.

The Department has studied with interest your analysis of the position of the different capitulatory Powers in this matter and has given careful consideration to your recommendations as well as to the recommendations made by Judge Crabitès in his communication of June 9, 1931,13 addressed to Mr. Childs.14 It is desired that you seek [Page 145] an early occasion to express to Judge Crabitès the appreciation of the Department for his continued helpfulness and advice.

The Department cannot, of course, acquiesce in the reply of the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs to your note of March 3, 1931. On the contrary, since the Department is convinced that the right of the United States with respect to representation on the Mixed Courts of Egypt is equal to that of any of the principal capitulatory Powers, it desires that every proper effort be made with a view to insuring the due recognition of that right, subject to the qualification hereinafter indicated growing out of the special interest of Great Britain in Egypt. The Department, however, concurs in your suggestion that before any further communication on the subject is addressed to the Egyptian Government an effort should be made to enlist the support of the Residency in favor of the position of this Government.

It is realized that such support probably could not be obtained if the British authorities felt any apprehension that the position of the United States might indicate an intention on the part of this Government to question the preponderance of British representation on the Mixed Courts. You are, therefore, authorized to request an audience with the High Commissioner and to advise him, informally and orally, that the American position involves no such intention but contemplates American representation on the Courts equal to that of the principal capitulatory Powers other than Great Britain. At the same time you should express the hope that the High Commissioner will use his good offices with a view to insuring the due recognition of the position of the United States and preventing a further departure from the principle of equality of representation on the Mixed Courts. In this connection you will point out the importance which this Government attaches to the appointment of another American judge prior to the appointment of any additional non-British judges.

In view of the possible transfer to the Mixed Courts of criminal jurisdiction over capitulatory nationals, you will doubtless also find it advisable, during the course of your conversations, to allude to the evident desirability, from the point of view of British as well as American interests, of increasing the representation on the Mixed Courts of countries whose systems of law are based upon or developed from the English Common Law.

If you consider it desirable you may furnish the High Commissioner with copies of such of the correspondence exchanged with the Egyptian authorities on this subject as have not previously been made available to the Residency. In order that the British Foreign Office may be informed of the views of this Government on this question a copy of this instruction, as well as copies of your despatch under acknowledgment and of other pertinent documents, is being transmitted [Page 146] to the Embassy at London. At the same time the Embassy is being instructed to acquaint the Foreign Office with the essential circumstances which have made it appear desirable to bring this matter again to the attention of the Residency. You may, if you consider it advisable, inform the High Commissioner of these facts.

Upon receipt from the High Commissioner of a reply to your request for his support in this matter it is desired that you inform the Department by telegraph of the substance thereof together with your suggestions as to the character which further representations to the Egyptian Government should assume.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
W. R. Castle, Jr.
  1. See footnote 5, p. 143.
  2. Not printed.
  3. J. Rives Childs, Second Secretary of Legation.