The American Minister Resident in Iraq (Knabenshue) to the Acting Iraqi Minister for Foreign Afairs (Gailani)1

No. 43

Excellency: I have the honor to enclose a copy of a draft Treaty of General Relations2 which I have been requested by my Government to submit to the Iraqi Government as a basis for negotiation for the conclusion of a treaty in regard to the future relations of our respective Governments.

The provisions of the draft treaty are for the most part similar to those which have been included in treaties between the United States and other countries. The following explanations and comments regarding certain provisions may be of assistance to you in your consideration of the draft treaty.

Article I. In connection with the reference in this article to the conclusion of a consular convention, I may inform you that the United States Government is prepared to undertake negotiations for such a convention at any time after the present treaty shall have been concluded.

Article IX. This article would extend to the United States and its nationals the assurances given by Iraq in Article 12 of its Declaration to the Council of the League of Nations.3

With reference to the provision whereby nationals of the United States would be eligible for appointment to posts in the Iraqi judicial system as long as any such posts are reserved to nationals of any other foreign country, it is intended that the provisions of Article 2 of the Judicial Agreement between Great Britain and Iraq4 would apply, [Page 402] mutatis mutandis in respect of the United States. Under the agreement referred to British legal experts are selected by His Majesty the King of Iraq with the concurrence of His Britannic Majesty. The corresponding procedure in the case of the United States would be the selection of American legal experts by His Majesty the King with the concurrence of the President of the United States.

In respect to this particular point I should be glad to receive from Your Excellency, in writing, a confirmation of this understanding on the part of the Iraqi Government.

Articles XV to XVIII include provisions regarding naturalization which in certain respects would appear to be in conflict with Iraqi law. However, it is hoped and believed that a solution of this seeming difficulty may be found, and with this object in view I shall hope to discuss the matter with you at your convenience.

In connection with the provisions of Articles XX, XXI, and XXIII regarding the treatment to be accorded by each Party to goods originating in the territory of the other, it should be understood that these provisions are not construed by the United States Government as affecting the right of either Party to adopt measures to counteract dumping, bounties, undervaluation or unfair methods or acts in foreign trade, so long as such measures are applicable under like circumstances and conditions in respect of trade with every foreign country. In other words, the levying of antidumping or countervailing (anti-bounty) duties, or additional duties for undervaluation, or the prohibition of the importation of dumped, bounty-fed, or undervalued goods, or goods involved in unfair trade practices, is not regarded as inconsistent with the obligations imposed by the most favored nation clause or with the provisions against the imposition or [of?] prohibitions or restrictions on the importation of merchandise.

Article XXVI provides for national and most favored nation treatment in regard to tonnage dues and other port charges on vessels as distinguished from duties on their cargoes. This means that an Iraqi vessel entering a port of the United States, or an American vessel entering a port of Iraq, from any given foreign port would be entitled to as favorable treatment in regard to such charges as national vessels or those of any third state entering from the same foreign port. Under the laws of the United States vessels of all nationalities, including American, pay tonnage dues at the rate of two cents per ton when entering ports of the United States from certain nearby foreign ports, whereas such vessels entering from any other foreign port pay tonnage dues at the rate of six cents per ton. Thus the six cent rate is applicable to all vessels, including American, coming from Iraq and from all other countries except the nearby countries specified in the statute. Article XXVI of the enclosed [Page 403] draft treaty should not, therefore, be construed as requiring the United States to extend the application of the lower rate to vessels coming from Iraq.

The reservations throughout this draft treaty regarding the Panama Canal Zone, the Philippine Islands and other dependencies of the United States, and Cuba, are customary provisions in treaties of the United States. On the other hand it will be noted that paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) of Article XXXI contain the substance of the reservations included by Iraq in Part 2 of Article 11 of its Declaration to the Council of the League of Nations.

In submitting the enclosed draft treaty for the consideration of the Iraqi Government, it should be understood that my Government reserves the right to propose changes in the draft treaty at any time throughout the negotiations.

I avail myself [etc.]

P. Knabenshue
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister Resident in his despatch No. 169, August 26, 1933; received September 15.
  2. The draft is not printed. It was sent to the Minister Resident as an enclosure to instruction No. 18, February 17, 1933, which is missing from Department files.
  3. May 30, 1932, League of Nations Document No. A.17.1932.VII: Request of the Kingdom of Iraq for Admission to the League of Nations, p. 3.
  4. Signed at Baghdad, March 4, 1931; for text, see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cxxiii, p. 77.