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

No. 1072

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Legation’s despatch no. 1055 of August 18, 193746 regarding the Montreux Capitulations Convention, [Page 657] in which it was stated that a list of the American educational, medical and charitable institutions in Egypt was being prepared by the Legation in accordance with the letter dated May 8, 1937 from the President of the Egyptian Delegation to the President of the American Delegation at Montreux. The Legation has now completed the draft of a tentative list, which is included in the enclosed Aide-Mémoire. This list has been compiled from information submitted by the three American consular officers in Egypt, supplemented by information obtained from prominent American scientific and educational leaders.

The list has not been submitted to the Foreign Office, nor has any discussion with the Foreign Office taken place regarding the details of the list or of any specific institutions to be contained therein. However, on the occasion of my visit to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs yesterday I discussed the question in general. The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs (Makram Ebeid Pasha) stated that no definitive list had yet been filed by any Signatory Power to the Montreux Convention, and in answer to a question from me, he said that he perceived no reason why the lists must be filed immediately, and that it was not necessary that they be filed before October 15th.

It will be observed that in the list given in the enclosed Aide-Mémoire a total of forty-five educational institutions are specifically mentioned. A paragraph is added stating that there are 139 schools maintained by the Evangelical Synod of the Nile under the supervision of the American Mission in Egypt. The inclusion of these synodical schools has been discussed at length by the Legation with the leaders of the American Mission in Egypt. The Evangelical Synod of the Nile is an entirely Egyptian organization. It is the governing body of the Protestant Egyptian churches in Egypt, and although these churches have been developed as a result of and under the aegis of the American Mission in Egypt, they are entirely self-sustaining and legally independent. The synodical schools are maintained by the various Egyptian Protestant churches throughout the country. The leaders of the American Mission in Egypt have informed the Legation that while the American Mission does not at present give any financial aid to the schools, there are numerous ways by which it contributes directly and indirectly to their organization and administration. For convenience of the administration of these schools, Egypt is divided into four regions, in each of which there is a school committee, the Chairman of which is an American. The committee inspects the schools and advises the teachers. There is a national school committee, composed of the Chairman of each of the four regional committees and one Egyptian from each region. The Chairman of the Committee is an American inspector of synodical [Page 658] schools for all Egypt. The national committee is therefore composed of five Americans and four Egyptians. The Chairman is elected by the Synod of the Nile, an Egyptian organization. The Chairman (now Dr. A. A. Thompson) gives practically his full time to inspecting and visiting the schools, but he is the only American who gives his full time to the schools, and his salary is the only direct financial assistance which the schools obtain from the United States.

The Mission leaders appear to be somewhat uncertain regarding whether they should support strongly the inclusion of the synodical schools. The principal reasons why the Mission has submitted the names of these schools are: (1) the Mission leaders desire to impress upon their Egyptian followers that the Mission is not neglecting the schools; and, (2) the Mission leaders have some fears that if the synodical schools are not included as American institutions under the Montreux Convention, they may soon be legislated out of existence as a result of the Egyptian Government’s effort to enforce compulsory government school attendance in the provinces and to take children away from the private institutions. The Mission leaders claim that the religious and cultural rights of the Christian minorities are not sufficiently respected in the government schools, where the study of the Koran requires a large percentage of the time of Christian and Moslem students alike.

On the other hand, the American Mission authorities desire to encourage the independence and self-support of their Protestant protégés in Egypt. Furthermore, the Mission authorities are considerably more interested in their own directly controlled schools than in these synodical schools, and have requested that no action be taken which might in any way jeopardize the inclusion of the regular Mission schools on the list of American institutions.

In view of the above considerations, the Legation is inclined to the opinion that the list of American institutions should not be discussed with the Egyptian Foreign Office until some of the other major powers, particularly France, has settled with Egypt the question of what type of institutions are to be included. Should the Egyptians take a strong position and insist that only purely foreign institutions be included, the Legation would recommend that no mention of the synodical schools be made.

Even if it should appear likely that the Egyptian Government might accept the synodical schools as American institutions, there is the question concerning whether it would be desirable for the American Government to assume sponsorship for them. In a letter to the Legation dated August 28, 1937, the secretary of the American Mission in Egypt submitted the list of the synodical schools with the following statement: [Page 659]

“I am sending a list of the schools conducted by the Synod of the Nile. The Mission has received an official request from the Synod that we present this list to you along with the American Mission list and request you to present it to the Government along with ours for recognition as affiliated with the Mission. You will recall our conversation on the subject. If you find it possible to do so, I am sure that both the Mission and the Synod will be very grateful.”

The situation seems to be as follows: The Synod of the Nile, an Egyptian association, has requested the American Mission in Egypt to present the list of synodical schools to the Legation with a request that it be included in the list of American institutions to be submitted to the Egyptian Government. The Mission adds that it will be very grateful if the Legation finds it possible to include the synodical schools. Should the Department consider that the synodical schools should not be classed as American institutions even though the Egyptian Government might be disposed to accept them as such, the Legation will appreciate instructions from the Department to this effect. It is thought, however, that the Department may possibly desire that a definite position be deferred until the type of institutions to be included in the lists of other Signatory Powers has been ascertained.

It will be observed in the enclosed Aide-Mémoire that following the lists of educational, medical, and charitable institutions, there is added a list of the six American religious organizations existing in Egypt. This additional list has been included in accordance with the Legation’s understanding of the practice being followed by the British Embassy in drawing up its list. Although no list of religious institutions as such is specifically provided for in the letter annex to the Montreux Convention, the tentative lists submitted by the French and Greek Delegations at Montreux included churches and other purely religious institutions. Most of the foreign religious organizations in Egypt support subsidiary educational, medical or charitable institutions, and their inclusion in a separate list by the various Foreign Powers is merely in an effort to safeguard the purely religious as well as the educational, medical and charitable activities of these organizations.

Respectfully yours,

Bert Fish

Draft of Aide-Mémoire Regarding American Educational, Scientific, Medical, and Charitable Institutions Existing in Egypt on May 8, 1937

In a letter dated May 8, 1937, from the President of the Egyptian Delegation at the Montreux Capitulations Conference to the President [Page 660] of the Delegation of the United States of America, and included as an Annex to the Montreux Capitulations Convention, the President of the Egyptian Delegation stated that the Royal Egyptian Government was prepared to assure the President of the American Delegation that pending the conclusion of a subsequent agreement, or in any case until the end of the transitional period, all of the American educational, medical and charitable institutions (associations or foundations) of the United States of America in Egypt actually existing in Egypt on May 8, 1937, might continue freely to carry on their activities in Egypt, whether educational, scientific, medical or charitable, subject to certain conditions. The letter added that a list of the institutions referred to therein should be drawn up as soon as possible in an agreement between the Egyptian Government and the Government of the United States of America.

Following is a list of the American educational, medical and charitable institutions existing in Egypt on May 8, 1937.

Educational (Total 45)

“Harvard-Boston Expedition,” Harvard Camp, Pyramids P. O., Cairo. (Archaeological.)
“University of Chicago Expedition,” Chicago House, Luxor. (Archaeological.)
“Metropolitan Museum of Art Expedition,” Luxor. (Archaeological.)
“Mt. St. Katherine Observatory,” (of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D. C.) Gebel El-Tor, Egypt. (Astronomical.)

The following thirty-nine schools are maintained by the “American Mission in Egypt”:


Assiut College for Boys.
Assiut College for Girls. (P. M. I.)
Ezbekia—Cairo, Boys.
American College for Girls, Cairo.
Tanta Girls College.
Ezbekia—Cairo, Girls.


Luxor Girls.
Fayoum Girls.
Alexandria Girls.
Zagazig Girls.


Luxor Boys.
Beni Suef Girls.
Benha Girls.
Mansura Girls.
Alexandria Boys.
Minet el Gamh.
Mehella Kubra.
Birket es Saba.
Mit Yaish.
Benha Boys.
Mansura Boys.
Karmuz, Alexandria, Girls.
Kafr Sheikh.


Simbellawein, Girls.
Luxor Village, Girls.
Abbassia Orphanage, Cairo, Girls.

Special Schools

Alexandria Commercial.
Experimental Village School, Edmu.
Bible Women’s Training School, Tanta.
Schutz School for Missionary Children, Alexandria.

The following school is maintained by the “Pentacost Faith Mission in Egypt”:

The Pentacostal Church and American School, 192 Sharia el Teraa El Bulakia, Shubra, Cairo.

The following school is maintained by the “Peniel American Mission”:

Primary School for Girls, Rue Kitchener, Port Said, Egypt.

In addition there are 139 schools maintained by the Evangelical Synod of the Nile under the supervision of the “American Mission in Egypt.”

Medical (Total 4)

“Rockefeller Foundation,” Ministry of Public Health, Cairo.

The following medical institutions are maintained by the “American Mission in Egypt”:

Assiut Hospital.
Tanta Hospital.
Husseineya Welfare Center, Cairo.

[Page 662]

Charitable (Total 9)

The following charitable institutions are maintained by the “American Mission in Egypt”:

Assiut Orphanage, Assiut.
Fowler Orphanage for Girls, Abbassia, Cairo.
Community Center, Benha.
Community Center, Beni Suef.
Community Center, Mansura.
Community Center, Tanta.

Additional American charitable institutions are:

Near East Relief Circle, care of Victoria Hotel, Cairo.
Y. M. C. A. in Egypt, 60 Sharia Ibrahim Pasha, Cairo.
Pentacostal Faith Mission Orphanage, Bulkeley, Ramleh, Alexandria.

In the letter of the President of the Egyptian Delegation above referred to, it is stated that, “Within the limits of the customs recognized in Egypt regarding religions other than the State religion, freedom of worship shall continue to be assured to all religious institutions of the United States of America on condition that there is no offence against public order or morals.”

Religious (Total 6)

The American religious institutions existing in Egypt are as follows:

Name of Institution Address of Headquarters
1.“The American Mission in Egypt,” Ezbekia, Cairo.
2. “The Pentacost Faith Mission,” 192 Sharia el Teraa el Bulakia, Shubra, Cairo.
3. “The Apostolic Church of God,” 49 Sharia el Teraa el Bulakia, Shubra, Cairo.
4. “Egyptian Mission of the Arabic Union of Seventh-day Adventists,” Mataria, Cairo.
5. “The American Church,” Ezbekia, Cairo.
6. “The Church of God Mission,” 1 Naucratis Street, Camp de Cesar, Alexandria.

  1. Not printed.