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

No. 203

Sir: Referring to despatches No. 613 of January 23, and No. 615 of February 1, 1935,17 from the Consulate General at Alexandria, to the Department, I have the honor to report that this Legation has made inquiries among the other interested Legations regarding their attitude toward the recent reorganization of the Municipal Government of Alexandria as established by Decree-Law No. 1 of January 1, 1935, and two Ministerial Orders of January 2, 1935, which were published in the Journal Officiel of January 3 and 4, 1935, respectively.

From these inquiries the Legation gathers that while the Egyptian Government may have kept the Residency currently informed of the progressive steps in the elaboration of a new Administration for the City of Alexandria, the other Legations had not been kept informed and had therefore not had an opportunity of studying the proposed changes until they had been enacted into law.

However, the majority of the Legations now seem inclined to agree with the British High Commissioner that so long as the fiscal provisions [Page 578] of the Decree of January 5, 1890,19 viz. Articles 31 and 40, are not disturbed—and Decree-Law No. 1 of 1935 does not refer to them—the Powers cannot very well protest. Nevertheless, two of the interested Legations, the Italian and the Belgian, have advised their respective governments to “reserve all rights” in the premises, and they have now been instructed to make general reservations regarding the collection of taxes from their nationals under the new municipal régime.

The Italian Legation accordingly addressed a Note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under date of February 7, 1935, a copy and translation of which are attached (Enclosures Nos. 1 and 2)20 offering to examine with the Egyptian Government and the other interested Legations the conditions under which the Italian Government could continue its assent to the collection of taxes from Italian nationals residing in Alexandria.

The Belgian Legation wrote a Note to the Egyptian Foreign Office in a similar sense on February 12, 1935, a copy and translation of which are likewise transmitted herewith. (Enclosures Nos. 3 and 4).20

This Legation does not believe that the Government of the United States need follow the example of the Italian and Belgian Governments to protect the fiscal interests of its citizens in Alexandria, but if the Department should feel that it would be preferable to make such reservations I respectfully suggest that the Legation be instructed to do so by telegraph.

Respectfully yours,

Bert Fish
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Published in Journal Officiel (Cairo), January 6, 1890.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.