The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Ethiopia (Southard)

No. 197

Sir: The receipt is acknowledged of your despatch No. 708 of May 2, 1931, with regard to a protest of the Diplomatic Corps against a [Page 226] Municipal Decree published October 22, 1930, by the Addis Ababa City Government providing for the trial in an Ethiopian Tribunal of certain cases affecting extraterritorial nationals.

After a careful consideration of this matter the Department has come to the conclusion that the purpose and effect of the final paragraph of Article 7 of the Franco-Ethiopian Treaty of January 10, 1908, was to exempt French nationals or protégés accused of crimes or delicts from the laws of Ethiopia and, except as otherwise provided in the preceding paragraphs of Article 7, from the jurisdiction of Ethiopia. The Department is, therefore, of the opinion that the Municipal Decree published by the Addis Ababa City Government on October 22, 1930, contravenes the treaty provision mentioned and consequently that it is in contravention of the rights of American nationals in Ethiopia which are derived from the Franco-Ethiopian Treaty through the treaty concluded between the United States and Ethiopia on June 27, 1914.

The Department desires that you associate yourself with the action of the Diplomatic Corps at Addis Ababa in protesting the application of that part of the Decree which subjects extraterritorial nationals to its provisions.

Very truly yours,

W. R. Castle, Jr.