The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Turkey (Skinner)
8. Your 51, December 12, 4 p.m.15 The discussions with respect to a lump sum settlement appear to have demonstrated that the ideas of the two Governments concerning the true value of the claims are too [Page 907]far apart to warrant the expenditure of further time in such negotiations. In view of this fact, and the fact that there are now recorded approximately 500 claims of nationals of non-Ottoman origin, which total $20,500,000, with estimated value of more than $10,000,000, the Department feels that the Claims Committee should proceed promptly to the consideration of the claims on their individual merits and, to that end, will undertake to send the dossiers in the claims of persons of non-Ottoman origin and a technical member of the Committee to be associated with Mr. Shaw or Mr. Gillespie,16 so that such deliberations may begin not later than February 15th next. Please endeavor to obtain definite commitment of the Turkish Government that its members will be instructed to join with the American members at that time and continue with them uninterruptedly to an expeditious consideration of all the claims.
It seems inevitable that, in line with practically unanimous past experiences, members of the Claims Committee will divide on some questions of fact and law and this Government therefore feels very strongly that an agreement should be concluded at present time which will provide for a definite and final evaluation of the claims without the necessity of later encumbering the diplomatic channels with discussions of the purely juridical points upon which the Claims Committee shall not have found themselves in unanimous agreement. Department desires therefore that you use your best endeavors to conclude promptly a claims protocol or convention in substantially the form indicated below. Confidentially, Department feels such an agreement should be reached at once before controversial questions are emphasized by Committee’s discussions; also that the Embassy should take the position that the matter of negotiating this convention is not one within the jurisdiction of the Claims Committee but is of a purely diplomatic nature to be handled through diplomatic channels, although with consultation, on each side, with members of the Committee, of course, if deemed advisable. Department inclines to belief that efforts to obtain convention will be more likely to succeed on this basis but imposes no restrictions on the use of your discretion in this respect. Please act as expeditiously as practicable in the matter and keep Department informed by cable.
You may use your own discretion in matter of advising Foreign Office regarding nature and amount of above-mentioned claims, which do not include claims of naturalized Ottomans.
Form of proposed protocol or convention follows:
The United States of America and the Republic of Turkey desiring to settle and adjust amicably claims by the citizens of each country [Page 908]against the other, have decided to enter into an agreement with this objective, and to this end have nominated as their plenipotentiaries:
The President of the United States of America, the Honorable Robert P. Skinner, Ambassador of the United States; and
The President of the Republic of Turkey, blank;
Who, after having communicated to each other their respective full powers found to be in due and proper form, have agreed upon the following Articles:
- Article I. The Claims Committee provided for in the notes which were exchanged by the contracting parties on December 24, 1923, and February 17, 1927, shall convene in Istanbul on February 15, 1934, and shall proceed at once and as expeditiously as possible to the consideration on their merits of the claims then notified to the Committee by the two Governments, respectively.
- Article II. In all cases in which the Committee shall, by a majority of its four members, agree with respect to the validity or invalidity of any particular claim and, in case of validity, with respect to the amount of international liability therein, they shall prepare and sign a statement evidencing such agreement which statements shall thereafter be accepted by the two Governments as final and binding determinations concerning the respective claims.
- Article III. In all cases in which it shall be found impossible for a majority of the members of the Committee to agree with respect to the solutions which should be given to particular cases as indicated in Article II, the members of the Committee shall, acting either jointly or separately in their discretion, prepare statements of their respective views concerning the claims in question which statements shall be filed with the dossiers in the respective cases and become permanent parts of such dossiers.
- Article IV. For the purpose of determining definitely questions of liability and amounts of damage, if any, in cases concerning which the members of the Claims Committee may find themselves in disagreement, as described in Article III, it is hereby agreed that an umpire shall be chosen to decide all such questions whose written decisions thereon shall be accepted by the two Governments as final and binding determinations thereof.
- Article V. The umpire shall if possible be chosen by mutual agreement of the two Governments. If, however, the two Governments shall not be able to arrive at such a mutual agreement within four months from the date on which either Government shall first propose to the other the name of a person to be agreed upon as such umpire, he shall be designated by the President of Switzerland, the President of the Permanent Court of International Justice and the President of the Permanent Administrative Council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, acting jointly and upon the joint request of the two contracting Governments or upon the request of either of them.
- Article VI. The remuneration of the umpire and his necessary expenses including cost of necessary assistants, shall be borne by the two Governments in equal moieties. Each Government shall individually bear all other expenses incurred by it.
- Article VII. The two Governments shall undertake to agree upon a simple, expeditious and inexpensive procedure for obtaining the decisions of the umpire in undecided cases. They hereby agree however, that, in the event of their inability to agree upon such procedure [Page 909]during the same period of time allowed for mutual agreement upon the umpire as described in Article V, they will abide by and comply with such forms of procedure as the umpire shall fix for that purpose.
In witness whereof the undersigned plenipotentiaries have hereto signed their names and affixed their seals this blank day of blank 1934.
Foregoing agreement may be concluded in form of protocol without formality of Senate approval unless under Turkish form of Government such formality is necessary. It is, of course, advisable, if possible, to avoid delays incident to such approvals.