The Consul at Beirut (Steger) to the Secretary of State

No. 983

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 852 of March 18, 1935,19 and to subsequent correspondence with regard to the French High Commissioner’s Decree No. 292/LB of December 20, 1934, which limits rights previously assured to American educational and philanthropic institutions in the territory under French Mandate.

Article 4 of the Decree in question denies to the institutions in question the privilege of free entry of articles imported from a country, other than the United States, which is not a member of the League of Nations. Especial attention was not called to this provision in my previous reports, inasmuch as it did not at the time appear to affect especially any American institutions in this country.

Now, however, my attention has been directed to the fact that the American University of Beirut imports considerable quantities of medical and other scientific instruments and supplies from Germany, and that, unless special arrangements are made in the meantime, imports from that country will not be admitted free of duty after the effective date of Germany’s withdrawal from the League.

Inasmuch as the prohibition of duty-free imports from Germany has not yet become effective; and inasmuch as the protest of the American Government against the provisions of the Decree in question is being presented through the American Embassy at Paris, I shall, in the absence of specific instructions to that effect, make no representations to the French High Commission at Beirut.

It is possible that the Department may not feel inclined to make representations for the purpose of enabling the University to continue to import from Germany articles which, in most instances at least, might equally well be imported from the United States. However, inasmuch as the assurances given to the American Embassy at Paris, under dates of November 2, 1923, and March 10, 1931, make no mention of limitation of imports with respect to the country of origin of the merchandise, it is believed that the provisions of Article 4 of the Decree should be brought specifically to the attention of the Department.

It is respectfully requested that the Consulate General be informed in the event that the Department should deem it advisable to include this point in the representations which it is now making to the French Government.

I take this occasion to report that there has been no change in the local situation since the date of my despatch No. 887 of May 25, 1935.

Respectfully yours,

Christian T. Steger
  1. Not printed.