The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Lindsay)

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of May 3, 1938, addressed to Mr. Moffat, regarding the desire of the Government of India to negotiate a treaty with the United States with the object of according to business men and merchants of each country the right to enter, travel and reside in the territories of the other for the purpose of carrying on international trade between the two countries. You suggest that such a treaty might be modelled somewhat after the proposed convention between the United States and Australia, a draft of which was submitted to you in my note of January 30, 1934.4

The United States Government is prepared to meet the wishes of the Indian Government in this matter through the conclusion of a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation which would provide inter alia for appropriate guarantees to American business men in India and for the admission of Indian business men into the United States as treaty aliens under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act of 1924. It considers, however, that the purpose which both Governments have in mind, that is, the maintenance and extension of the mutually profitable trade between the two countries, would not be accomplished [Page 351] through the conclusion of a treaty of such limited scope as was proposed in the case of Australia. As a matter of fact, this Government has for some time been of the opinion that those provisions pertaining to India in the American-British Convention of Commerce and Navigation of July 3, 1815,5 have become so obsolete and inadequate as to make their replacement by a modern and comprehensive treaty of commerce and navigation a matter of mutual interest to both the United States and India. The present would therefore appear to be an opportune occasion to accomplish the dual objective of providing for the admission and sojourn of business men of each country in the territories of the other and of establishing modern rules relating to the treatment to be accorded to the growing trade between the two countries.

If the proposal to negotiate such a comprehensive treaty meets with the approval of the Government of India, I shall be glad to submit to you a draft designed to accomplish the desired ends.

Accept [etc.]

Cordell Hull
  1. Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. i, p. 834.
  2. Hunter Miller (ed.), Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, vol 2, p. 595.