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

No. 197

Sir: Reference is made to your despatch No. 599 dated November 19, 1932, in which you reported that by a confidential decision of the Egyptian Council of Ministers of June 22, 1932, the acceptance of bids for the construction of a dam at Gebel Awlia, in the Sudan, is limited to those which may be tendered by seven specified British firms and such others as the Ministry of Public Works may approve.

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The Department concurs in your opinion that no useful purpose would be served by making formal protest against this clear discrimination in favor of British as compared with American construction firms. The Department is moved to this conclusion by the considerations outlined in your despatch as well as by the fact that there has been brought to its attention no indication of any desire on the part of any American construction firm to submit a bid on this project.

It is considered important, however, that the Egyptian Government should be left with no reason to believe that its discriminatory action has escaped the Department’s attention or that such discrimination can be viewed by this Government otherwise than with disapproval. Accordingly, unless you perceive objection, you should at some convenient opportunity point out to the appropriate Egyptian authorities in an informal manner that, while your Government does not intend to make any formal protest in the present instance, it wishes the Egyptian Government to understand clearly that it can only look with disfavor upon arrangements which prevent American interests from enjoying opportunities in Egypt equal to those accorded to other foreign interests.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
W. R. Castle, Jr.