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

No. 168

Sir: The Department refers to your despatch No. 414 of February 24, 1932, enclosing a copy of a communication of February 20, 1932, from the British High Commissioner to Egypt,15 regarding the support which the British Government will be prepared to accord to the appointment of an additional American judge to the International Mixed Tribunals; to your despatch No. 442, dated April 7, 1932,16 informing the Department that the British High Commissioner had not offered a new explanation of Sir Henry Elliot’s letter to Nubar Pasha, dated May 26, 1873; and to other correspondence on the subject of equality of representation of the principal capitulatory Powers on the Mixed Court judiciary.

The Department has noted particularly the intimation contained in your despatch No. 414 to the effect that in view of the promise of British support no resistance was to be envisaged from Egyptian sources to the appointment of an additional American judge. While the Department is gratified to learn that the Egyptian authorities are not likely to oppose the proposed appointment, it is of the opinion that it would be desirable, in order to complete the record, to make a formal request for such an appointment to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Therefore, unless you perceive some objection, it is requested that you seek an early occasion to leave with the Minister for Foreign Affairs a formal note in reply to his communication of June, 1931,17 a copy of which was enclosed with your despatch No. 196 of June 11, 1931.18 Your note should read substantially as follows:19 [Page 627]

“Adverting to Your Excellency’s note of June, 1931, setting forth the views of the Egyptian Government regarding the question of the principle of equality of representation of the principal Capitulatory Powers on the Mixed Tribunals, I am instructed to make the following communication:

The American Government notes with regret that the Royal Government, in its communication of June, 1931, has not acknowledged the clear interpretation of Sir Henry Elliot’s letter of May 26, 1873, to Nubar Pasha, and that it has failed to respond to the American Government’s repeated requests for copies of the documents upon which it relies to negative the sense of that letter. Under the circumstances the Government of the United States of America can not accept the Egyptian statement of June, 1931, as a convincing or satisfactory reply to its repeated representations on this subject. Animated as it is, however, by the friendliest sentiments toward the Royal Government, the United States will refrain at this time from continuing to press its point of view. It finds itself under the necessity, nevertheless, of making a full reservation of its position with respect to the principle of equality of representation on the Mixed Courts.

In view of the friendly attitude which it has adopted in this matter, the American Government trusts that the Egyptian Government will see its way clear to acquiesce in the formal request, which is hereby made, for the appointment of an additional American judge on the bench of the Mixed Tribunals at the earliest opportunity. The American Government wishes to make clear that this request is motivated by its desire to see removed the existing discrimination to which the United States is subject because of its numerically inferior representation on the courts as compared with that of the other principal Capitulatory Powers.”

At an appropriate moment after delivery of this note to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, you should seek an interview with the British High Commissioner and inform him of your action, leaving with him if you consider it desirable a copy of your note to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. At the same time you should recall to the High Commissioner’s attention the conditional promise of British support conveyed in his communication to you dated February 20, 1932.

You should report promptly to the Department the results of your conversations in this matter, sending a copy of your despatch to the American Embassy at London, in order that an appropriate account of your representations may be presented by the Embassy to the Foreign Office.

A copy of the present instruction is being transmitted to the Embassy in order that it may be prepared to take appropriate action upon receipt of your report. The Embassy’s attention is at the same time being directed to the fact that, contrary to the statement in its telegram No. 10 of January 12, 1932, no explanation of Sir Henry Elliot’s [Page 628] letter was made to you by the High Commissioner, in the thought that the Embassy may, if it considers such action desirable, intimate to the Foreign Office that this Government has never received any explanation of Sir Henry Elliot’s letter which would invalidate the conclusion which has been drawn therefrom in the past.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
W. R. Castle, Jr.
  1. Enclosure not printed.
  2. Not printed; it repeated the substance of the oral communication by the British Foreign Office to the Chargé in Great Britain, reported in the Chargé’s telegram No. 10, January 12, 6 p.m., p. 621.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1931, vol. ii, p. 143.
  4. Not printed.
  5. This note, dated December 2, 1932, was acknowledged by the Egyptian Foreign Office on December 11.