The Secretary of State to the Consul at Nairobi (Smith)

Sir: The receipt is acknowledged of your despatch no. 338 of December 20, 1939,65 setting forth your conversation with the Acting [Page 121] Governor in regard to the possible contravention of certain provisions of the Treaty of Saint-Germain of September 10, 1919 by the system of licensing and control of imports recently established in British East Africa. In this connection there is enclosed for your information a copy of an instruction addressed to the American Chargé d’Affaires at London on December 26, 1939.66 It will be observed from that instruction that it is the opinion of this Government that the measures recently introduced into British East Africa constitute not only a violation of the pertinent provisions of the Treaty of Saint-Germain but also, in the case of the mandated territory of Tanganyika, a violation of certain provisions of the American-British Convention of February 10, 1925, concerning the rights of the United States and its nationals in East Africa.

In conclusion, the Department cannot agree with the remarks in the penultimate paragraph of your despatch under reference to the effect that “the question of the infraction of the Congo Basin treaties was of little importance”. This Government has made clear in numerous statements published during the past few years that it attaches the highest importance to the sanctity of treaties and that violations of treaty rights wherever they occur tend to spread still further the forces of disorder.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Henry F. Grady