890G.01/317

The Chargé in Great Britain ( Atherton ) to the Secretary of State

No. 244

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s instruction No. 84 of June 17, 1932, and to report that the viewpoint of the United States Government as set forth therein was duly brought to the attention of the British authorities by an aide-mémoire which on July 8 was left with Mr. G. W. Rendel, Chief of the Eastern Department at the Foreign Office.

This afternoon there has been received from the Foreign Office, in duplicate, a note12 enclosing a copy of a declaration by the Iraqi Government13 which on June 27 was communicated to the League of Nations through the British Government and a copy of the report,14 dated May 7, 1932, of the Committee appointed by the [Page 680] Council of the League in order to prepare the draft of a declaration of guarantees. The duplicate copy of this note and its enclosures is being forwarded herewith by to-day’s pouch, as I believe that the Department would prefer to have it as promptly as possible rather than that I should delay its transmission in order to make the usual number of copies, especially as it appears that the Department has already received the text of these enclosures from Geneva.

Respectfully yours,

Ray Atherton
[Enclosure]

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ( Simon ) to the American Chargé ( Atherton )

No. E 3644/408/93

Sir: In a semi-official letter (No. E 1431/9/93) of April 1st to Mr. Cox of the United States Embassy on the question of the impending release of Iraq from the Mandatory régime, it was stated that His Majesty’s Government would be glad to communicate to the United States Government, for their information, as soon as it was possible to do so, copies of the Assurances to be given by Iraq to the Council of the League of Nations, prior to the termination of the Mandatory régime, in connexion with the protection of racial and religious minorities and of legitimate foreign interests in Iraq. These Assurances were incorporated in a Declaration of Guarantees which was approved by the Council of the League on May 19th,15 and the Declaration, having been signed by the Iraqi Prime Minister and ratified by His Majesty the King of Iraq, was duly communicated to the League through His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom on June 27th. I now have pleasure in enclosing (Enclosure No. 1) a copy of this Declaration16 which I shall be glad if you will communicate to the United States Government in accordance with the undertaking of April 1st referred to above.

2.
You will observe that Article 12 of the Declaration of Guarantees has the effect of prolonging for ten years, from the date of the admission of Iraq to the League, the Judicial régime instituted by the Anglo-Iraqui Judicial Agreement of March 4th, 1931.17 You will recollect that, in your note No. 1255 of June 19th, 1931,18 you informed Mr. Arthur Henderson that the United States Government, [Page 681] under the terms of Article 6 of the Tripartite Convention of January 9th, 1930, consented to the substitution of that Agreement for the previous Anglo-Iraqi Judicial Agreement of March 28th, 1924,19 and to the application of the new Agreement to nationals of the United States in Iraq, upon its entry into force and in accordance with its terms. The new régime to be established under Article 12 of the Iraqi Declaration of Guarantees will apply to all foreigners and Iraqis alike, and will involve no modification to the detriment of foreign interests of the régime set up under the Anglo-Iraqi Judicial Agreement of 1931.
3.
I also enclose (Enclosure No. 2), for the information of the United States Government, a copy of the Report20 of the Committee appointed by the Council of the League in order to prepare, in consultation with a representative of the Iraqi Government, the draft of a Declaration of Guarantees. In recommending the Council to approve the text of the draft Declaration of Guarantees, the Committee pointed out, with particular reference to Article 12 of that Declaration in regard to the judicial régime, that, in the absence of explicit renunciation, the capitulatory rights possessed in the former Ottoman Empire by certain States would automatically revive in Iraq on the termination of the Mandatory régime. So far as concerns States members of the League, those rights, as the United States Government are aware, were suspended in the following manner. By the Resolution of the Council of the League of September 27th, 1924,21 certain undertakings set out in that Resolution given by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom to the Council, together with the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of Alliance of October 10, 192222 were accepted by the Council as giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League,23 and as ensuring the observance of the principles which His Britannic Majesty’s acceptance of the Mandate for Iraq had been designed to secure. In the relevant part of that Resolution, the Council decided “that the privileges and immunities, including the benefits of consular jurisdiction and protection formerly enjoyed by capitulation or usage in the Ottoman Empire, will not be required for the protection of foreigners, so long as the Treaty of Alliance (i.e. of 1922) is in force”. Capitulatory rights and privileges have accordingly so far as these Powers are concerned been suspended in Iraq during the [Page 682] continuance of the Mandatory régime, the interests of foreigners in judicial matters being safeguarded at first by the Anglo-Iraqi Judicial Agreement of March 25, 1924, subsequently by the new Anglo-Iraqi Judicial Agreement of March 4, 1931, and now by Article 12 of the Iraqi Declaration of Guarantees referred to above.
4.
The Committee’s Report was considered by the Council on May 19, and in view of their statement regarding the possibly automatic revival of the capitulatory rights possessed in the former Ottoman Empire by certain States, the Council recommended, in a Resolution dated May 19, a copy of which is enclosed for convenience of reference (Enclosure No. 3),24 “that the Powers concerned, whose nationals enjoyed capitulatory rights in the former Ottoman Empire, renounce, before the admission of Iraq to the League of Nations, the maintenance of these former jurisdictional privileges in favour of their nationals in future”, and requested the Secretary General of the League “to communicate this recommendation to the Governments of States, which the British Government, in accordance with the present Resolution, will approach, with a view to the proposed renunciation”. The Secretary General of the League, in view of this Resolution, and in accordance with the Council’s request, duly approached the Governments of the Powers members of the League which formerly possessed capitulatory rights in the Ottoman Empire, and His Majesty’s Government have now approached those Powers officially with a similar request.
5.
The position of the United States in the matter is regulated by the Tripartite Convention of January 9, 1930. Article 7 of that Convention provides that the Convention shall cease to have effect on the termination of the special relations existing between His Britannic Majesty and His Majesty the King of Iraq in accordance with the Treaty of Alliance of 192225 and the Treaty of 1926.26 It further provides (1) that, on the termination of the said special relations, negotiations shall be entered into between the United States and Iraq for the conclusion of a Treaty in regard to their future relations and the rights of the nationals of each country in the territories of the other and (2) that pending the conclusion of such an Agreement United States citizens, and United States interests in general, will enjoy most-favoured-nation treatment. Consequently pending the conclusion of a new agreement United States citizens in Iraq will be entitled to enjoy the same [Page 683] judicial privileges as those enjoyed by the nationals of the most favoured foreign country.
6.
In these circumstances, and in view of the impending termination of the Mandatory régime, although the rights of United States citizens in judicial matters, as indicated above, are fully protected, not only by the arrangements described in paragraph 2 of the present note, but also by the most-favoured-nation rights secured to the United States by Article 7 of the Tripartite Convention, the United States Government will no doubt consider the desirability of taking the necessary steps to negotiate the new Agreement, provided for in paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Tripartite Convention with the Iraqi Government direct.

I have [etc.]

(For the Secretary of State:)
G. W. Rendel
  1. Infra.
  2. League of Nations, Official Journal, July 1932, p. 1347.
  3. Ibid., p. 1342.
  4. See League of Nations, Official Journal, July 1932, pp. 1212–1216.
  5. Ibid., p. 1347.
  6. Great Britain, Cmd. 3933, Treaty Series No. 33 (1931).
  7. Not printed.
  8. The agreement was signed March 25, 1924; see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. xxxv, p. 131.
  9. League of Nations, Official Journal, July 1932, p. 1342.
  10. Ibid., October 1924, p. 1346.
  11. League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. xxxv, p. 13.
  12. Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–1923, vol. iii, p. 3336.
  13. League of Nations, Official Journal, July 1932, p. 1212.
  14. League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. xxxv, p. 13.
  15. Ibid., vol. xlvii, p. 427.