The Ambassador in Spain (Laughlin) to the Secretary of State

No. 905

Sir: In reply to the Department’s instruction No. 346 of September 10th, 1932,30 relative to a proposal of the British Government to grant tariff preferences to Palestinian products, I have the honor to report that following an interview between a member of the Embassy and Señor Ocerín, the Under Secretary of State, the Embassy has been furnished with a copy of a Note addressed by the Spanish Government to the British Ambassador under date of September 8, 1932. This communication, which is enclosed in copy and translation,31 refers to three Notes addressed to the Spanish Foreign Office by the British Embassy, and declared, with reference to the provisions contained [Page 37] in Art. 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations32 and the provisions of Art. 18 of the mandate granted to the British Government over Palestine,33 that the territory in question could in no way be considered as imperial territory, but solely as a foreign country depending from [sic] the League of Nations. From this point of view, it was in a situation with regard to the mandatory power analogous to other sovereign states. Full proof of this was found in the fact that Palestine was not permitted to grant any different treatment whatsoever in favor of British products, which were placed on the same footing as those originating in any other state likewise a member of the League of Nations. In continuation the Note invokes Art. 6 of the Treaty of Commerce between Spain and Great Britain34 and declares that any privileges granted by Great Britain to Palestine, whatever they might be, would thereby be extended automatically and without distinction to similar products of Spanish origin.

In the interview referred to above, the contents of the Department’s Note of August 27, 1932, to Mr. Osborne, the British Chargé d’Affaires, were brought to the attention of Señor Ocerín for the information of his Government.

Respectfully yours,

Irwin Laughlin

[In despatch No. 433, January 15, 1934, the Chargé in Great Britain reported as follows: “I have the honor to refer to the Department’s telegram No. 205 of July 30, 1932, 2 p.m., as well as to the subsequent correspondence respecting a British proposal to grant a preference to Palestinian products imported into the United Kingdom. A member of the Embassy staff inquired informally of the appropriate Foreign Office official what was the present situation in regard to this question, and, after the subject had been looked up in the Foreign Office files, was informed that ‘nothing more had been done in the matter.’ Although the Embassy Officer endeavored to obtain an expansion of this laconic Foreign Office reply, he did not succeed in doing so. The inference is, therefore, that following the representations made by foreign missions in London on this question the Foreign Office did not proceed with its proposal.” (641.67n3/20)]

  1. See footnote 25, p. 34.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Treaties, Conventions, etc. Between the United States of America and Other Powers, 1910–1923, (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1923), vol. iii, p. 3336.
  4. Great Britain, Cmd. 1500: Final Drafts of the Mandates for Mesopotamia and Palestine, 1921.
  5. Treaty of October 31, 1922, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. xxviii, p. 340.