883.512 Motor Vehicles/47

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

No. 782


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On July 19, 1933, in reporting that a new draft law regarding motor car taxation was under consideration by the Egyptian Government, the Egyptian Gazette announced also:

“We recently stated that the Motor Cars Committee considered it advisable not to hold meetings until such time as a definite opinion had been formed regarding the annual tax to be imposed on motor cars.”

Upon inquiry of dealers, including a representative of General Motors Near East, it was ascertained that the Central Licensing Committee in question to which all applications for the operation of trucks and autobuses are required to be referred had not had a sitting for some weeks and that applications for the operation of trucks to the estimated number of some five hundred were pending without any action having been taken thereon.

Upon being apprised of these facts, Mr. Childs, the Secretary of the Legation, communicated by telephone with the Acting Commercial Secretary of the Residency at Alexandria on the same day, July 19th. In inviting his attention to the report in the Gazette quoted above, and in reporting the facts as they had been disclosed regarding the accumulation of applications, Mr. Childs stated that he thought it extraordinary that the Egyptian Government should even give the appearance of [Page 850] attempting, through an enforced inactivity of the Licensing Committee, to bring pressure to bear upon the capitulatory Powers to accept the new motor tax proposals. Apparently as a result of these representations and action taken by Mr. Larkins, the Acting Commercial Secretary, presumably through Mr. Keown-Boyd, a member of the Committee, a meeting of the Committee was held on the following day at which it is understood that all pending applications for permits for the operation of trucks were approved without exception.

While the Committee is understood to have taken no action on applications for the operation of autobuses it is considered doubtful if, under the provisions of Article 35 of the Automobile Regulations of July 16, 1913, exception may properly be taken to the withholding of permits for the operation of autobuses.

Although the situation is admittedly improved since the Roads and Bridges Department has ceased from February, 1933, the illegal collection of taxes on trucks and autobuses, American motor car interests complain that since the meeting of the Motor Licensing Committee on July 20th it has been reported that no further meeting will be held for another two months or until the return of Mr. Keown-Boyd, Director General of the European Department of the Ministry of the Interior, from leave, during which time dealers are left without any possibility of disposing of trucks in view of the impossibility of obtaining licenses for them.12

Respectfully yours,

W. M. Jardine
  1. All U. S. objections to the draft law on automobile taxation were met by the Egyptian Government in their notes dated June 13 and June 23, 1934, transmitted to the Department by the Minister in Egypt with his despatch No. 97, June 25, 1934 (883.512 Motor Vehicles/68). The automobile tax went into effect as law No. 44 with its publication in the Official Gazette, July 2, 1934.