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

No. 354

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the Department’s instruction No. 84 of August 27, 1931,22 directing me, in the absence of a favorable reply to my representations on the subject of the appointment of an American representative on the International Quarantine Board of Alexandria, to bring this matter once more forcibly to the attention of the Egyptian Government and to ascertain and report the reasons for the delay in this matter.

I forwarded the Department in my despatch No. 298 of September 14, 1931,22 a record of my conversation on the subject which I had on September 3, 1931, with the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs. On November 17, 1931, when calling on the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the day assigned for the reception of members of the diplomatic corps, I had intended to bring up again the question of American representation on the International Quarantine Board, which I had been prevented from doing by the Minister’s illness, but he anticipated the subject by raising the question himself.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that he had studied the question at length and that he had discussed the subject with the Prime Minister and that they had come to the conclusion that they could not accede to the wishes of the United States as they regarded the question as a purely domestic matter and that it was the intention of the Egyptian Government not only to avoid the appointment of new members but to abstain from the filling of any vacancies which might occur in the future with a view to the eventual transformation of the Board from an international to an Egyptian institution.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that there were countries bordering on the Mediterranean at present unrepresented on the Board which were asking for representation, a fact which I have previously reported to the Department.23 He added that, if a formula might be devised whereby a means might be found for the Egyptian Government to appoint an American representative without opening representation on the Board to the other countries seeking representation, [Page 630] the Egyptian Government would be pleased to give further consideration to the question of American representation.

I inquired if I might regard the Minister’s reply as a definitive reply to my Government’s inquiry. He stated that he would not go so far as to say that his answer represented the last word on the part of the Egyptian Government but that he had brought the matter up in order that I might be apprised in general of the Egyptian Government’s position and that he would prefer to have a further opportunity to discuss the question with me before giving me a definite answer and that he would be pleased to hear and to take into consideration any further arguments which I might desire to advance in support of my request for American representation.

In a conversation which I had with the British High Commissioner on November 21, 1931, on a number of subjects I mentioned to the High Commissioner the fact that my Government had repeatedly made representations to the Egyptian Government with regard to the appointment of an American representative on the International Quarantine Board and that my Government had been promised at one time that it would be accorded such representation25 but that in a conversation which I had had very recently with the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs I had been informed that the Egyptian Government could not accede to the wishes of the American Government in this respect for the reason that it regarded the matter as a domestic question and since the Egyptian Government intended to make the Quarantine Board an Egyptian body by refraining from the appointment of representatives of foreign powers either in the form of additional members or to fill any vacancies which might subsequently arise.

I inquired if the Egyptian Government had the support of the Residency in the attitude which it had taken. The High Commissioner informed me that the question had not been discussed with him at all, but that in his opinion it was out of the question to consider the conversion of the International Quarantine Board from an international to a purely Egyptian institution. He added that he regarded the matter as one of considerable importance and as one which he proposed to examine without delay.

In view of the foregoing I have thought it desirable to postpone any further representations on the subject to the Egyptian Government until I might discuss the question further with the High Commissioner after he had studied the question and had made himself acquainted with the question involved of the eventual transfer of the functions of the International Quarantine Board to an Egyptian [Page 631] Board, as I have felt that I would be better prepared to continue my representations or to make recommendations to the Department on the basis of the attitude which the Residency was likely to adopt.

Respectfully yours,

W. M. Jardine
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. The countries referred to were Rumania, Germany, and Turkey (883.12/54).
  4. See note of June 21, 1928, from the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs to the American Chargé, Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. ii, p. 777.