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

No. 1119

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Legation’s despatch no. 1075 of September 15, 1937,61 enclosing a translation of a note from the Foreign Office acknowledging the receipt of a draft copy of an extradition treaty which the United States hoped might be concluded with Egypt.

Last week Third Secretary Allen called at the Foreign Office to inquire regarding the status of the case. He was informed that the draft treaty had been referred to Bedaoui Pasha, the Legal Adviser to the President of the Council of Ministers. Mr. Allen asked whether it might be appropriate for him to call on Bedaoui Pasha in order to ascertain what consideration was being given to the treaty and how soon a reply might be expected. The Foreign Office thought that the negotiations might be hastened by such a visit and arranged an interview for Mr. Allen with Bedaoui Pasha.

There is enclosed herewith a memorandum of the conversation which took place at this interview.

Respectfully yours,

Leland B. Morris

Memorandum by the Third Secretary of Legation (Allen)

I called this evening, by appointment made through the Foreign Office, on Badaoui Pasha, Legal Adviser to the President of the Council of Ministers, to inquire regarding the draft extradition treaty, which had been submitted to the Egyptian Government on August [Page 675] 30, 1937. Badaoui Pasha said that the draft had been sent to his office to study several weeks ago, and apologized for the fact that his assistants had not referred the matter to him sooner. He said that he had just obtained the file, as a result of the Legation’s request for an interview.

During our conversation, discussion was based largely on the five points raised by the Egyptian Government during the negotiations of 1931–1933 (Legation’s despatch no. 604 of November 22, 193262). Badaoui Pasha stated that the first observation made by the Egyptian Government in 1932, regarding certain special provisions which might be necessary in the Treaty because of the capitulatory régime then in force could now be entirely disregarded and the Treaty negotiated without consideration of any limitations on Egyptian sovereignty.

In 1932 the Egyptian Government suggested that to include in the Treaty a list of extraditable crimes (Article 2) would be to risk incompleteness. Egypt preferred a general formula providing for extradition in case of crimes involving a year’s imprisonment or more. Badaoui Pasha was inclined to believe that the Egyptian suggestion was still valid. I pointed out to him that although he would understand that I was not in a position to discuss the details of the Treaty and had called principally for the purpose of finding out the status of the case, I might say that in examining most of the recent extradition treaties the United States had negotiated, including one in 1932 [1931] with Great Britain,63 I had observed that a list of extraditable crimes was usually included in the Treaty, and that experience must have proved that there was a valid reason therefor. I suggested that the criterion of a year’s imprisonment might not be satisfactory due to the wide divergence of penalties in different countries, and that there was an obvious advantage to be gained from having all of our extradition treaties on the same general plan. I said that the United States had been one of the foremost countries interested in the matter of extradition, and that I would presume that uniformity in our treaties was desirable in order that advantage might be taken of the great body of judicial interpretations which had doubtlessly developed in the United States regarding the treaties already in force.

Badaoui Pasha said that he could appreciate the argument for uniformity, particularly as regards judicial interpretations. He said that in the only full extradition treaty which Egypt has yet attempted to negotiate, that with Palestine a few years ago, the formula of crimes involving one year’s imprisonment had been decided upon, but he indicated that the Egyptian Government might be brought to appreciate the advantage of including a specific list of crimes in the Treaty with us.

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(The Palestine Treaty was never ratified.)

In 1932 the Egyptian Government suggested that the American formula for political crimes (Article 3) was not sufficiently inclusive in its exemption of attempts against the person of the King. Badaoui Pasha asked if I could say anything on this point. I replied that I could only say that the provision regarding political crimes in our recent treaty with Great Britain, also a constitutional monarchy, appeared to make no exemptions whatsoever regarding attacks against the head of the State. Badaoui Pasha said that he would be very interested to see the British Treaty.

In 1932 the Egyptian Government pointed out that our draft (Article 5) provides that there shall be no grounds for extradition if, according to the laws of the country within the territory of which the crime was committed, the fugitive could not be prosecuted or punished because of lapse of time. Badaoui Pasha thought that the statute of limitations in both the country applying for extradition and the country applied to should be taken into consideration. I replied that I was not in a position to make any observations on this point.

In 1932 the Egyptian Government had objected to the provision in article 11 of our draft making the treaty applicable to all territory under the control of the high contracting parties. Badaoui Pasha stated that the question of the Sudan was still in the minds of the Egyptians, and that the method of making treaties applicable to the Sudan had still not been entirely established. He said that in the past the British Government has made treaties applicable to the Sudan and has simply notified the Egyptian Government of its action. He said that as a result of the recent Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of Alliance,64 the former method of making treaties applicable to the Sudan might not be sufficient. He said that he presumed that in the present instance the American Government was primarily interested in an extradition treaty with Egypt and that if the Egyptian Government did not desire to enter into the question, at the present time, of the negotiation of treaties applicable to the Sudan, it might be supposed that the American Government would prefer a treaty applicable to Egypt alone rather than no treaty at all. I said that I felt confident that the American Government desired to have all parts of the world Covered by an extradition treaty, and suggested that Egypt might sign a treaty applicable to all territory under Egyptian control, it being naturally understood that such a treaty would run to the same extent and degree as Egyptian sovereignty. Bedaoui Pasha said that the question would be given most careful consideration and that he felt [Page 677] sure that the question of the Sudan would not prevent the conclusion of the proposed treaty.

In 1932, the Egyptian Government expressed its inability to understand why a difference was made in Article 7 of the draft treaty regarding the period of time within which extradition documents should arrive after provisional arrest. (The draft provides that Egyptian extradition documents must arrive in the United States within two months after the date of commitment, and that American documents must arrive in Egypt within two months after the date of arrest). Bedaoui Pasha said he still did not understand the divergence. I suggested that the Egyptian interpretation of the term “commitment” might not be correct, since “commitment” as used in Article 7 might not refer to the commitment of the crime, as the Egyptian Government had interpreted it, but to some legal meaning of the term, such as “commitment to jail”. I reiterated the fact that my discussion of these points was entirely unofficial so far as the American Government was concerned, and that I had no background regarding the terminology of the treaty.

Bedaoui Pasha expressed full appreciation for the visit, and said he was glad that the Legation had reminded him of the negotiations, which the Government, now freed from consideration of capitulatory problems, would actively pursue. He said that no other power had yet approached Egypt regarding an extradition treaty, but that there was no country better than the United States with which to begin their negotiations. In answer to a question, he said that he saw no reason why our treaty should not be proceeded with now to its conclusion and that the Egyptian Government would not have to wait until it had received proposals from other powers. He asked me if I would let him have copies of two or three of our more recent extradition treaties, including that with Great Britain and at least one with a country following the Civil Code legal system, such as France or Italy. I agreed to send the copies to him.

George V. Allen
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Signed at London, December 22, 1931, Foreign Relations, 1931, vol. ii, p. 353.
  4. Signed at London, August 26, 1936, British Cmd. 5360, Egypt No. 6 (1937): Treaty of Alliance.