The American Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Bingham) to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Eden)27

No. 2744

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of July 7, 1937,28 concerning the rights of the United States and its nationals in Palestine, as determined by the American-British Convention of December 3, 1924.

Since the receipt of the above-mentioned note, the Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Palestine has been published and my Government has noted that the Commission proposes that the Mandate for Palestine should terminate and be replaced by a treaty system in accordance with the precedent set in Iraq and Syria. In this general connection, His Majesty’s Government will recall that at the time of the termination of the special relations between the United Kingdom and Iraq in 1932, the United States Government set forth in some detail its views regarding its rights relating to the termination of mandatory regimes. At the request of my Government, which was anxious to have its views in this matter receive wide publicity, His Majesty’s Government was good enough to transmit copies of that correspondence to the League of Nations, and the text of the correspondence was reproduced in the League of Nations Official Journal for January, 1933.29 The attitude of the American Government, as revealed by this correspondence, was summed up in two paragraphs, one of which appeared in a letter dated March 1, 1932,30 from the First Secretary of this Embassy to the Head of the Eastern Department of the Foreign Office, and the other in an aide-mémoire, dated [Page 902] July 8, 1932,31 left at the Foreign Office by this Embassy. For convenience of reference these paragraphs are quoted below:

“Since the termination of a régime in a mandated territory necessarily involves the ‘disposition’ of the territory and affects the interests of American nationals therein, the right of the United States to be consulted with respect to the conditions under which the territory is subsequently to be administered is on precisely the same basis as its right to be consulted with regard to the establishment of a mandatory régime.”

“Accordingly the American Government desires to make a full reservation of its position in this matter and, with a view to avoiding any possible misconception which may arise in the future, to make clear that its action in refraining from insisting upon a fulfillment of its rights in the case of Iraq is not to be construed as an abandonment of the principle established in 1921 that the approval of the United States is essential to the validity of any determination which may be reached regarding mandated territories.”

The views of my Government as set forth in the above-mentioned correspondence are, of course, fully applicable to the proposed termination of the Palestine Mandate, and it is pertinent to add that those views were brought to the attention of the French Government in August, 1936,32 during the negotiations between the French Government and a Syrian delegation looking to the termination of the Syrian Mandate. It is hardly necessary, however, to repeat the assurances heretofore communicated to His Majesty’s Government that the position of my Government as set forth in the quoted correspondence is based exclusively on its obligation and purpose to provide for the protection of American interests in Palestine on a basis of equality with those of other governments and their nationals.

In expressing satisfaction and appreciation for the assurances furnished that His Majesty’s Government intends to keep the United States Government fully informed of any proposals which may be made to the Council of the League of Nations for the modification of the Palestine Mandate, I am instructed to request that these proposals may be communicated to my Government in ample time to enable it to determine what, if any, observations it may desire to make with a view to the preservation of American rights in Palestine.

I have [etc.]

(For the Ambassador)
Herschel V. Johnson

Counselor of Embassy
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in his despatch No. 3265, August 4; received August 14. Department’s instruction No. 1869, July 27 (867N.01/776), directed the Ambassador to deliver to the British Foreign Office the text of note here printed.
  2. See telegram No. 448, July 7, 9 p.m., from the Ambassador in the United Kingdom, p. 891.
  3. See also Foreign Relations, 1932, vol. ii, pp. 672 ff.
  4. Ibid., p. 674.
  5. See Foreign Relations, 1932, vol. ii, p. 678, footnote 11.
  6. See ibid., 1936, vol. iii, pp. 496 ff.