The Ambassador in France (Edge) to the Secretary of State

No. 3243

Sir: I have the honor to report that a few days ago the Counselor of Embassy, Mr. Marriner, was asked to call upon M. Navailles,20 of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, to discuss developments in the situation as regards the rights of foreigners under the French Rent Laws.

As the Department may recall, although the lower courts have almost uniformly denied to foreigners the enjoyment of the privileges of rent legislation, the higher court or Cour de Cassation has, in numerous instances, upheld the rights to such privileges, particularly since the issuance of the circular letter from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs interpreting the treaty rights of foreigners under the Rent Laws, which was published in the Journal Officiel of August 13, 1929. M. Navailles [Page 177] stated that from information he had received, it appears that the Cour de Cassation is about to reverse itself and that in future rent cases involving foreigners the court will probably refuse to accord to them the same treatment that would be granted French citizens.

In order to meet this contingency, M. Navailles suggested that an exchange of notes take place between the Embassy and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs interpreting the rights of American citizens under the French Rent Laws as governed by the Consular Convention of February 23, 1853.21 He seems to feel that such an exchange of notes would materially strengthen the American position and that the binding quality of the notes would be given greater consideration than the interpretative circular of August 13, 1929, alluded to above. He suggested, as the most suitable model, the exchange of notes on the subject of Rent Laws which took place in July, 1929, between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Swiss Legation in Paris, and which has been satisfactory to the Cour de Cassation in cases involving Swiss citizens. A copy and a translation of the Franco-Swiss notes are attached hereto.22

In the Embassy’s despatch No. 9738 of July 31, 1929,22 the interpretative circular of the Foreign Office was mentioned and the text thereof was forwarded with the Embassy’s despatch No. 9786 of August 22, 1929.22 It was stated, in effect, in the prior mentioned despatch that, should the interpretative circular not prove effective in assuring the rights of American citizens under the French Rent Laws, it might be well to consider the possibility of an exchange of notes on the subject. To that possible end there was enclosed with the Embassy’s despatch the text of analogous notes exchanged between the British and French Governments in May, 1929. A further copy of these notes is now appended hereto for the convenience of the Department.22

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Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Theodore Marriner

Counselor of Embassy
  1. M. de Navailles-Labatut, Secretary-General of the Immigration Commission.
  2. Hunter Miller (ed.), Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, vol. 6, p. 169.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.