890G.01/303

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

No. 84

Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 2716 of April 5, 1932, enclosing a copy of a communication dated April 1, 1932, from the Foreign Office in reply to the informal representations which the Embassy made regarding the right of the United States to be consulted in connection with the termination of the special relations between Great Britain and Iraq.

[Page 678]

Subsequent to the receipt of the above mentioned despatch, the Department received from the American Consulate at Geneva the text of the declaration which it is proposed that Iraq should sign as a condition to the termination of the mandate and entrance into the League of Nations.10 An examination of this declaration, to the benefits of which nationals of the United States will be entitled under the terms of Article 7 of the Tripartite Convention of January 9, 1930, indicates that the rights of the United States and its nationals in Iraq will be adequately safeguarded upon the termination of the special relations between that country and Great Britain.

Under these circumstances it is not perceived that any useful purpose would be served by continuing the discussion with the Foreign Office with regard to the right of the United States to be consulted upon the termination of the mandatory régime. At the same time the Department does not wish to leave the Foreign Office with the impression that the American Government acquiesces entirely in the contentions set forth in Mr. Rendel’s letter of April 1, 1932. It is therefore desired that you seek an early occasion to bring to the attention of the appropriate British authorities the viewpoint of this Government as set forth below.11

The Government of the United States appreciates the offer of the British Government to furnish it with copies of the assurances which Iraq is to furnish to the Council of the League of Nations as a preliminary to the termination of the mandatory régime and entrance into the League of Nations. From information which it has already received from other sources the American Government is satisfied that these assurances, to the benefits of which American nationals will be entitled under the provisions of Article 7 of the Tripartite Convention of January 9, 1930, will afford adequate protection to legitimate American interests in Iraq upon the termination of the existing special relations. Accordingly this Government considers that no useful purpose would be served by continuing the discussions which the Embassy at London has undertaken with the British authorities concerning the right of the United States to be consulted with regard to the conditions under which Iraq is to be administered upon the termination of the mandatory relationship. At the same time the American Government desires to place on record the declaration that it cannot fully accept the interpretation [Page 679] of the position of the United States vis-à-vis Iraq as set forth in Mr. Rendel’s letter of April 1, 1932. Thus, while the American Government concedes that by the terms of the Tripartite Convention it waived its right to consultation with respect to the actual termination of the mandate, it considers that the right was retained to be consulted with respect to the conditions under which Iraq is to be administered upon such termination. This Government is therefore of the opinion that in addition to the most-favored-nation treatment which, by virtue of the provisions of the Tripartite Convention of January 9, 1930, it will enjoy in Iraq upon the termination of the special relations, it is also entitled to a voice in the determination of the conditions upon which that most-favored-nation treatment is to be based.

Accordingly the American Government desires to make a full reservation of its position in this matter and, with a view to avoiding any possible misconception which may arise in the future, to make clear that its action in refraining from insisting upon a fulfillment of its rights in the case of Iraq is not to be construed as an abandonment of the principle established in 1921 that the approval of the United States is essential to the validity of any determination which may be reached regarding mandated territories.

Very truly yours,

W. R. Castle, Jr.
  1. For text of the declaration, see League of Nations, Official Journal, July 1932, p. 1347.
  2. The remainder of this despatch was used as an aide-mémoire by the American Embassy and left with Mr. G. W. Rendel of the Foreign Office on July 8.