811.203/213: Telegram

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

81. For Department’s information, following are further developments in regard to jurisdictional question dealt with in my 2177, December 12, 6 p.m.13

On January 2, Foreign Office in a memorandum stated that Egyptian Government was prepared to agree that American military personnel (uniformed) which [would] in criminal cases be amenable to jurisdiction of American military tribunals but that as regards American civilians attached to the American Armed Forces, Egyptian Government would decide in each case whether criminal cases involving such persons would be tried by Mixed Courts or by American military tribunals. This arrangement is acceptable to American military authorities here.

With regard to claims for damages (and Egyptian authorities are insisting that something be included in agreement on this subject), memorandum states that Egyptian Government must insist upon a Mixed Commission, that claims awarded under $1000 be paid immediately, and that awards over $1000 be paid immediately up to that amount and balance be brought to the attention of Congress for authorization. Our military authorities here do not object to a Mixed Commission in principle but state that legal impediments exist to setting up such a Commission and to payment of $1000 in advance on claims over that amount. We have two alternative suggestions: (1) that Mixed Commission be called a Committee and that its awards under $1000 be subject to approval by United States Claims Commission for Middle East; or (2) that injured parties be given option of filing civil suits in Mixed Courts against individuals or claims with the United States Claims Commission for Middle East. Under British treaty arrangements British Consular Court, competent for personal status cases, decides claims against British Armed Forces and British Government pays such awards. Egyptian Government is unwilling to confer such jurisdiction on our Consular Court for personal status cases and neither the Legation nor our military here desire such jurisdiction.

Our negotiations have again been made more difficult by a fracas which occurred at Port Said on January 2 involving three American [Page 74] soldiers, who themselves were seriously injured, in which one Egyptian was killed and another injured.