890E.05/12–546: Telegram

The Chargé in Lebanon ( Kuniholm ) to the Secretary of State

confidential

651. ReLegtels 401, August 7, 572, October 21 and 629, November 16 and Deptel 512, October 25.73 Director General Foreign Office requests me to transmit to Department herewith a formal request for the abrogation by exchange of letters, of jurisdiction of Mixed Courts to be effective as of end of this calendar year. Fouad Ammoun states [Page 791] that British Legation has already exchanged letters to this effect,74 and French Legation has given its assent in principle.

According to Foreign Office the Lebanese Chamber of Deputies is prepared, unilaterally, to abolish jurisdiction of Mixed Courts by law to be passed next week, and has only been persuaded by Foreign Office to desist in such action pending an attempt to secure US assent to exchange of letters. In any event, says Ammoun, Parliament will not vote funds for Mixed Courts beyond end of this year.

I have taken opportunity to remind Foreign Office that we were prepared long ago to agree to abolish regime of Mixed Courts, and that if no action in the premises had been taken to date it was simply because treaty negotiations had proceeded so slowly.

Kuniholm
  1. None printed.
  2. In telegram 629, November 16, 1946, 10 a.m., the Chargé in Lebanon reported information from the Lebanese Foreign Office that the exchange had taken place on November 13, subject to confirmation from London. The British agreed to the abolition of the Mixed Courts and suggested that cases pending before these courts should be heard in the Lebanese national courts, the judges to be Lebanese magistrates with experience in the Mixed Courts. The Lebanese Government accepted this suggestion. (890E.05/11–1646) The agreement was formalized in an exchange of notes at Beirut on January 22, 1947. An exchange of similar import between the British and Syrian Governments took place at Damascus on November 1 and 2, 1946. The texts of the two sets of exchanges are published as British Cmd. Nos. 7154 and 7140, respectively.