741.90g9 Judicial/10

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

No. 1967

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s despatch No. 1878 of April 23, 1931,7 relating in judicial matters to the position of American nationals in Iraq. In conversation yesterday the hope was expressed at the Foreign Office that the United States Government might give early consideration to the new Anglo-Iraqi Judicial Agreement, which formed the subject of my despatch first above mentioned, to the end that the period of time might be shortened in so far as possible [Page 601]in which American citizens in Iraq would be on a different legal basis from other foreigners.

In this connection, I venture to enclose for the Department’s consideration an informal note which has just been received on this subject, repeating the substance of yesterday’s conversation mentioned above.

Respectfully yours,

(For the Ambassador)
Ray Atherton

Counselor of Embassy
[Enclosure]

The Chief of the Eastern Department of the British Foreign Office (Rendel) to the American Counselor of Embassy (Atherton)

(E 2346/38/93)

My Dear Atherton: At the end of our talk this afternoon you asked me to let you have a line on a point which I had taken the opportunity of your visit to raise, i. e. the attitude of the United States Government towards the new Anglo-Iraqi Judicial Agreement, in order that you might take up the question semi-officially with the State Department. I am accordingly writing to confirm what I said in the course of our conversation.

The present position, as you know, is that the existing rights of the United States and its citizens are fully protected by Article 6 of the Tripartite Convention of January 9, 1930, which came into force on February 24, 1931. No change which may be made in the judicial régime in Iraq will therefore apply to United States citizens until the United States Government have assented thereto. On the other hand, as we explained in our official note No. E 1920/38/93 of April 22, it is proposed to bring the new Anglo-Iraqi Judicial Agreement, and the judicial regime for which it provides, into force in the near future. If this should happen before the United States Government have given their assent to the new arrangements, it would presumably be necessary, if any case should occur involving the trial of a United States citizen, to revive, for the purposes of that case, the machinery at present existing under the Anglo-Iraqi Judicial Agreement of 1924, and a somewhat anomalous situation might arise in consequence.

As I explained during our interview, we ourselves are satisfied that British subjects in Iraq will be amply protected under the new judicial arrangements, and the Permanent Mandates Commission, as we said in our official note of April 22, decided last November that the new Agreement “seemed to offer to all foreigners in Iraq the essential guarantees for the proper dispensation of justice and also an improvement in criminal procedure in favour of all persons in the country subject to Iraqi criminal jurisdiction”. Moreover, all [Page 602]the other Powers, who in January 1931, enjoyed privileges under the old Agreement, have readily accepted the new arrangements.

In these circumstances I feel sure that the United States Government will not wish to withhold their assent to the new arrangements which would thus become applicable also to United States citizens in Iraq. My object in raising the question, however, was to ask, quite unofficially, whether you thought anything could be done to hasten a decision on the part of the United States Government, in order that the period during which the position of United States citizens will be on a different legal basis from that of all other foreigners in Iraq may be reduced to a minimum. I feel that any unnecessary prolongation of such an anomaly is to be avoided, and that it would be all to the good if the position could be completely regularised with the least possible delay.

Yours sincerely,

G. W. Rendel
  1. See footnote 1, p. 597.