811.203/241: Telegram

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

369. My 359, February 17, 4 p.m. Situation relative to agreement concerning military jurisdiction is as follows: Egyptian Government will reply to my representations setting forth views of United States Government on question of right of criminal jurisdiction under international law by stating that it does not accept views of United States Government but is prepared as gesture of good will to accord such jurisdiction. This grant will be embodied in formal note from Prime Minister to me stating in substance that for duration of war immunity from jurisdiction in criminal matters will be granted to members of United States Armed Forces in Egypt and outlining procedure to be followed. This draft has approval of military legal advisers here but they as well as Legation are urgently awaiting reply to my telegram under reference regarding civilians.

I would reply to foregoing note thanking Prime Minister following which in capacity of and authority as Military Governor would issue proclamation in Official Journal.

At same time foregoing notes are exchanged, I would in order to meet difficulty which has been raised in matter of Mixed Claims Commission, address informal note to Prime Minister acquainting him of our existing procedure for handling claims for damages caused by members of armed forces and he would reply stating that such procedure appears satisfactory but that he must reserve right to raise question later if in practice that procedure does not accord justice to Egyptian claimants. Proposed notes in foregoing connection also have approval of military legal experts here.

Because of possibility of matter being raised in Parliament, Prime Minister desires to exchange these notes this weekend and for that [Page 81] reason it is essential that authorization be given at once as requested in my 359, February 17, 4 p.m.