The French Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the American Embassy in France 50


The Embassy of the United States was good enough to submit to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs the objections which occurred to it in connection with the regime applied to the importation of goods intended for American philanthropic and educational institutions in the Levant states under French mandate. In the opinion of the United States Embassy, the texts regulating this question (Ordinance 1734 [Page 270] of December 22, 1922, and Ordinance 1711 of December 20, 1927), inasmuch as they limit strictly the quantity of goods permitted to enter free of duty into Syria and the Lebanon, restrict the advantages which the United States considers it has a right to claim for the institutions in question, on the basis of the assurances transmitted by M. Poincaré to Mr. Myron T. Herrick on November 22 [2], 1923.51a

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has the honor to inform the Embassy of the United States that it does not believe that the provisions of Ordinances 1734 and 1711 can be considered as incompatible with the assurances referred to above.

M. Poincaré’s letter, dated November 22 [2], 1923, made anticipatory reference to article 2 of the Franco-American Convention which was then in course of negotiation and which was effectively signed on the 4th day of the following April.52 This article assures that the United States and its nationals “shall have and enjoy all the rights and benefits secured under the terms of the mandate to members of the League of Nations, and their nationals, notwithstanding the fact that the United States is not a member of the League of Nations”.

Now, it does not seem that the regime to which the importation of goods intended for American institutions is subject can be considered as an infringement of this text, the object of which is to assure to the United States and to their nationals coming within the framework of the mandate the advantages of the most favored nation. The institutions of the United States cannot indeed complain that, as a result of the application of the ordinances 1734 and 1711, they have been placed in a position of inferiority as compared with the institutions of any other nation whatsoever, since it is a question of provisions applied impartially to all States susceptible of taking advantage of article 11 of the Mandate.53

Besides, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs feels that it should add that the contingent system is applied in a general manner to charitable and educational institutions in all the territories of the Levant under mandate. As in Syria and the Lebanon, it is in force in Palestine, and the British authorities have not considered that the application of this regime is in contradiction to the obligations they have assumed in the premises vis-à-vis states which are members of the League of Nations and the United States and which result from conventional texts similar to those which bind the French Government.

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Chargé in France in his despatch No. 9793, August 27, 1929; received September 4, 1929.
  2. File translation revised.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, p. 4.
  4. Convention regarding rights in Syria and the Lebanon, signed at Paris, April 4, 1924, ibid., 1924, vol. i, p. 741.
  5. Ibid., p. 743.