The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Straus)
Sir: You will recall that Article 6 of the American-French Convention signed at Paris on April 4, 1924,47 regarding the rights of the two Governments and their respective nationals in Syria and the Lebanon, reads as follows:
“Nothing contained in the present convention shall be affected by any modification which may be made in the terms of the mandate as recited above unless such modification shall have been assented to by the United States.”
In view of the current negotiations between the French Government and a Syrian delegation, looking toward the termination of the mandatory régime and the entrance of Syria, and possibly the Lebanon, into the League of Nations as independent states, it becomes important to make provisions for the future respecting the rights of the United States and its nationals in those states under the new conditions which will prevail. I therefore desire you to bring this matter to the attention of the Foreign Office and to inquire what arrangements the French Government contemplates with respect to consultation with the United States concerning the termination of the Mandate, the disposition of the territories of Syria and the Lebanon, and the conditions under which those territories are to be administered upon the cessation of the mandatory régime.
In this connection I enclose copies of certain correspondence exchanged with the British Government in 1932 concerning the termination of the mandatory relationship between Great Britain and Iraq. This correspondence was reproduced in the Official Journal of the League of Nations, January, 1933.48 The position of the United States with respect to Iraq differed from our position with respect to Syria and the Lebanon, for in the former case this Government had, by the terms of Article 7 of the Tripartite Convention of January 9, 1930, between the United States, Great Britain and Iraq,49 waived its right to be consulted with respect to the termination of the mandatory relationship between Great Britain and Iraq (referred to in the Convention [Page 497] as “the special relations existing between His Britannic Majesty and His Majesty the King of Iraq”). Article 7 of the Tripartite Convention, referred to above, reads as follows:
“The present Convention shall be ratified in accordance with the respective constitutional methods of the High Contracting Parties. The ratifications shall be exchanged in London as soon as practicable. The present Convention shall take effect on the date of the exchange of ratifications, and shall cease to have effect on the termination of the special relations existing between His Britannic Majesty and His Majesty the King of Iraq in accordance with the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of 1926.
“On the termination of the said special relations, negotiations shall be entered into between the United States and Iraq for the conclusion of a treaty in regard to their future relations and the rights of the nationals of each country in the territories of the other. Pending the conclusion of such an agreement, the nationals, vessels, goods and aircraft of the United States and all goods in transit across Iraq, originating in or destined for the United States, shall receive in Iraq the most-favoured-nation treatment; provided that the benefit of this provision cannot be claimed in respect of any matter in regard to which the nationals, vessels, goods and aircraft of Iraq, and all goods in transit across the United States, originating in or destined for Iraq, do not receive in the United States the most-favoured-nation treatment, it being understood that Iraq shall not be entitled to claim the treatment which is accorded by the United States to the commerce of Cuba under the provisions of the Commercial Convention concluded by the United States and Cuba on the 11th day of December, 1902,50 or any other commercial convention which may hereafter be concluded by the United States with Cuba or to the commerce of the United States with any of its dependencies and the Panama Canal Zone under existing or future laws, and that the United States shall not be entitled to claim any special treatment which may be accorded by Iraq to the nationals or commerce of neighbouring States exclusively.”
No similar provision appears in the American-French Convention of April 4, 1924, the position of the United States with respect to the termination of the Mandate in Syria and the Lebanon being governed by Article 6 of that Convention, quoted in the first paragraph of this instruction. This Article itself, to say nothing of the well established position of the United States toward the question of Mandates, as revealed by published correspondence with several mandatory governments, establishes beyond a doubt that this Government is entitled to be consulted not only with respect to the termination of the French Mandate over Syria and the Lebanon but also with respect to the conditions under which the territory is to be administered upon the cessation of the mandatory relationship. In this latter connection your particular attention is invited to the final paragraph of the Aide-Mémoire [Page 498] presented on July 8, 1932, to the British Foreign Office by the American Embassy at London,51 as reproduced in the enclosed documents.52
It appears unnecessary further to stress the importance of this question which, not only in the case of Syria and the Lebanon but also in other cases of mandated territories, affects the important interests of the United States. I should be appreciative, therefore, if you would give this matter your close attention and advise me promptly of the results of your preliminary discussions with the French Government. Upon the result of those discussions will depend the nature of further instructions to be sent to you in this matter.
Very truly yours,
- Ibid., p. 741.↩
- See also ibid, 1932, vol. ii, pp. 672 ff.↩
- Ibid., 1930, vol. iii, p. 302.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1903, p. 375.↩
- See Foreign Relations, 1932, vol. ii, p. 678, footnote 11.↩
- Enclosures not reprinted.↩