The Minister in Egypt (Jardine) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 10.]
Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 354 of November 24, 1931, on the subject of American representation on the International Quarantine Board and to transmit herewith a copy of a note of February 4, 1932, which I have received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs on that subject in reply to my note of May 11, 1931,26 which the Department authorized me to present to the Egyptian Government. There are also enclosed a suggested translation of the Minister’s note, as well as a copy of my acknowledgment.27
Following my conference of November 21, 1931, with the British High Commissioner as reported in my despatch No. 354 of November 24, 1931, I had occasion a few days subsequently to see him on other subjects at which time he informed me that he had taken pains to go at some length into the question of the proposed abolition of the Board. In my conversation with him he gave me the impression that his Government did not envisage concurrence in the near future with the Egyptian Government’s expressed desire for the Board’s transformation into an Egyptian institution as it was not considered that the Egyptian authorities were as yet sufficiently competent to apply independently the measures of public health and quarantine now confided to the International Quarantine Board. The High Commissioner added that his Government would welcome American representation on the Board and that should he find an opportune occasion he would take the opportunity to intimate to the Egyptian Government the desirability of American representation.
A few days subsequently Major Gilmour, President of the Quarantine Board, called on me and stated that the High Commissioner had suggested that he call and give me such informal assistance as he might find possible and appropriate towards the obtainment of American representation on the Board.
Major Gilmour explained that he had always favored American representation but was precluded, as an Egyptian official, from taking [Page 632] any official action to that end. He suggested, however, that the Egyptian Government was not justified in considering the American request for representation in the same category with similar requests on the part of Germany and Turkey for the reason that Germany had renounced its title to representation by the Treaty of Versailles, while similar renunciation had been made by Turkey in the Treaty of Lausanne.28
On December 26, 1931, I called on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, by appointment, to discuss with him further the question of American representation which had been the subject of a previous conversation as reported in my despatch No. 354 of November 24, 1931. In reiterating the reasons which my Government had previously presented through me in justification of my Government’s desire for representation I added the further argument that my Government’s request for representation was properly distinguishable from similar requests of the Governments of Germany and Turkey which had severally renounced in formal treaties any right which they might have claimed to representation. For these reasons and in view, moreover, of the fact that the Foreign Office in its note of June 21, 1928,29 had accepted in principle my Government’s request for representation on the Board, I stated that my Government was at a loss to understand the reason for further delay in the appointment of an American representative.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs sought to persuade me to request my Government to engage itself to support the Egyptian Government’s desire to suppress the international character of the Board in return for representation. He stated that both he and the Prime Minister were sympathetic to my Government’s request but unless it was possible for my Government to agree in advance to give its cooperation to the realization of the Egyptian Government’s purpose to transform the Board into an Egyptian institution it was doubtful if parliamentary support could be obtained in favor of American representation.
I referred to my Government’s note No. 124 of July 13, 1929,30 in which my Government’s position had been clearly set forth in regard to a similar proposal, a position which I stated was still adhered to.
The Minister replied that the Foreign Office in its note of June 21, 1928, had exceeded its authority in according its agreement in principle to American representation since such an agreement should only [Page 633] have been given following approval by the Council of Ministers. It may be noted that this is included amongst other arguments presented in the enclosed note of February 4, 1932 of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
In my despatch No. 298 of September 14, 1931,31 in reporting on the subject under reference I noted particularly the increasing restiveness of the Egyptian Government towards the capitulatory regime and expressed the opinion that, in view thereof, American representation on the Board would only be conceded grudgingly, if at all. The present note of the Egyptian Government fully confirms the point of view expressed by me in September and I may add that a further consideration which has affected the present conclusions of the Egyptian Government has been, I have reason to believe, the knowledge that any decision to accord unconditional assent to American representation would subject the Government to the embarrassing criticism of Nationalist elements.
Moreover, as the Foreign Office has observed in its note of February 4, 1932, no new representatives have been added to the Board since its establishment, while a similar Board established at Constantinople has been abolished by the Treaty of Lausanne.
So far as I am aware no charges have ever been raised against any acts of discrimination on the part of the Board against American interests in the application of its public health measures, since such charges might well afford the strongest possible argument for American participation in the decisions of the Board. In the event the Public Health Service of the Treasury Department is desirous of establishing more intimate and direct contact with the Board I am of the opinion the Egyptian Government would be most receptive to the approval of any suggestions on the part of the Public Health Service looking to the fullest possible cooperation on the part of the Board as now constituted with the competent American authorities.
With the growing realization of all capitulatory Powers of the increasingly anachronistic character of the capitulatory regime, and with the example of Turkey constantly adduced by Egyptians as affording an all too painful contrast with the régime to which Egypt is compelled to submit, and in consideration of the deepening sensitiveness of Egypt to any extension of any institution suggestive of the limitation of Egyptian sovereignty, I am of the opinion that further action on the subject of American representation on the International Quarantine Board would be ill-advised and that the results which might be obtained would be incommensurate with the loss of that good will which further insistence might well entail. Moreover, there is the additional consideration that such insistence is [Page 634] calculated, however mistaken the interpretation, to provoke an imputation of motives foreign to the reputation for sympathetic consideration of the aspirations of non-autonomous nations now and long enjoyed by the United States in Egypt.
So long as the Board is functioning efficiently, and of that I do not believe there is any question, I consider far more may be gained in good will by refraining from any further pressing of the question of American representation than from any advantages which might possibly be acquired by the appointment of an American representative.
- Note of May 11 not printed.↩
- Acknowledgment not printed.↩
- For the German renunciation, see sec. VI, art. 152, of the Treaty of Versailles, Treaties, Conventions, etc., vol. iii, pp. 3329, 3397; for the Turkish renunciation, see pt. I, sec. I, art. 17, Treaty of Lausanne, Great Britain, Cmd. 1929, Treaty Series No. 16 (1923), p. 21.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. ii, p. 777.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Not printed.↩
- File translation revised.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Egypt, Bulletin des lois et decrets, année 1881. (Port-Said Imprimerie françhise J. Serrière, 1881), pp. 12–21.↩
- Not printed.↩
- See France, Ministère des affaires étrangères, Conférence sanitaire Internationale de Paris, 10 octobre–3 décembre 1903, Procès-verbaux (Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 1904).↩
- Ibid., 7 novembre 1911–17 janvier 1912, Procès-verbaux (Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 1912).↩
- Ibid., 10 mai–21 juin 1926, Procès-verbaux (Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 1927); see also Foreign Relations, 1926, vol. i, pp. 174 ff.↩
- See Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–1923, vol. iii, p. 3397.↩
- See ibid., p. 3185.↩
- See ibid., p. 3571.↩