765.84/2296: Telegram

The Chargé in Egypt ( Childs ) to the Secretary of State

88. In a long discussion this morning entitled “Egypt and sanctions” obviously derived from British official sources, the Egyptian Gazette and the Arabic Press generally state: “The interests in this country among the capitulary powers of several nations, such as the United States of America et cetera, which are not members of the League of Nations and have not decided to apply sanctions, makes the Egyptian Government’s task exceedingly difficult. To exact such legislation as would effectively place a ban upon the exports of cotton, say to Italy, the Egyptian Government would have to obtain the consent of at least the General Assembly of the Mixed Court and probably of the capitulary powers as a whole. There seems very little [hope?] of such consent being obtained as the non-League powers and also the non-sanction League members would hardly agree. And if it should be possible—and we are not sure that it is—to legislate in this connection solely for the League powers represented in Egypt, it would be the easiest matter for the other powers to act if they chose as intermediaries for the export of Egyptian products to Italy.”

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I presume the Department has given consideration to the suggestion made in my telegram No. 86, November 2, in view of the lead given by the United States and the very great moral effect upon world-wide public opinion, including that in Egypt, of the proclamation of the President and the pronouncements of the President concerning the embargo on arms and trading with the two belligerents, it has occurred to me that a statement in the sense of the suggestion made in my telegram above mentioned might be conformable with the general policy pursued hitherto. I do not believe that American commercial interests in Egypt would take it amiss and it would have the definite advantage of preventing our being made a scapegoat in the event Great Britain should seek even by indirection to throw on us part of the onus for the limited cooperation of Egypt with the League. The principal objection which I can see to such a course would be that hitherto the capitulary powers have generally taken counsel among themselves regarding the common attitude to be taken with the Egyptian Government towards all proposals affecting the capitulations.