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883.01/11b: Telegram

President Harding to His Majesty Ahmed Fuad, King of Egypt

WASHINGTON, April 26, 1922. GREAT AND Good FRIEND: On the occasion of the formal recognition by the United States Government of the independence of Egypt, I take pleasure in offering your Majesty, in my own name and in that of the American people, my heartiest congratulations. In thus voicing the pleasure which it gives my fellow countrymen and myself to welcome Egypt into the family of free nations, allow me to express the hope that for yourself and for the Egyptian people a new era of happiness and prosperity has been inaugurated.


123 H 836/13a : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Agent and Consul General at Cairo


WASHINGTON, June 23, 1922—6 p.m. 20. Your nomination as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Egypt confirmed. Take oath immediately. Inform Department date executed. Letter of credence follows by mail.




The Agent and Consul General at Cairo (Howell) to the Secretary of


[Extract] No. 97

CAIRO, June 16, 1922.

[Received July 7.] SIR: I have the honour to herewith transmit to the Department copy of a communication just received, dated June 14, 1922, from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, respecting the interpretation by the Department of the reservation formulated by it, in reference to the acceptance of the prorogation of the powers of the Mixed Jurisdictions for an undetermined period in Egypt.

I have [etc.]


* For previous correspondence concerning right of withdrawal, see Foreign Relations, 1921, vol. I, pp. 916 ff.

(Enclosure Translation)

The Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs (Saroit Pasha) to the

Agent and Consul General at Cairo (Howell)

No. 778

CAIRO, 14 June, 1922. MR. AGENT AND CONSUL GENERAL: I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 25th March, by which you brought to my knowledge the interpretation given by the Government of the United States, to the reservation formulated by it and indicated in the letter from your Diplomatic Agency of 28th October, 1921," at the time of the acceptance of the prorogation of the powers of the Mixed Jurisdictions for an undetermined period.

According to this interpretation, the United States Government reserves itself the right to withdraw its adhesion to the powers of the Mixed Tribunals in that which concerns American citizens, at any time after the 1st November, 1922.

It is true that in its circular of 4th September, 1921," the Egyptian Government had made no allusion except to its right to put an end to the powers of the Mixed Jurisdictions provided that advice is given to the Powers concerned a year in advance; but, as it had also recognized this in its correspondence with other diplomatic agencies, it admitted that the right of denunciation possessed a reciprocal character, in the sense that the right of denunciation in the same conditions was in fact recognized by the Capitul[at]ory Powers, which had accepted the prorogation for an undetermined (or indefinite) period.

When the Egyptian Government received the American Diplomatic Agency's letter dated 28th October, it found great difficulty in entering into negotiations with the United States Government, and to obtain precise definitions as to the scope of the reservations therein formulated before the expiration of the current period, that is to say, the 31st October. On the other hand it was in the interest both of American citizens and for those subject to Mixed Jurisdiction that the Mixed Courts should be able to continue to function without interruption after the 31st of October, in so far as American citizens were concerned. This is why precise answers were not requested previous to the promulgation of the decree of October 31st, 1921.

However, the Egyptian Government thought, in all good faith, that the reservation made by the United States Government was made only with an end in view of being able to stipulate (to its own advantage) its right to terminate the agreement at any moment "pro

* Not printed; based on instruction no. 4, Feb. 24, 1922, printed ibid., p. 919.

Not found in Department files; based on telegram no. 21, Oct. 27, 1921, printed ibid., p. 917.

'Not printed.

vided a year's notice was given ”, all of which was in harmony with the right to terminate the agreement, which the Egyptian Government held, and in harmony with the right which certain other powers had reserved for themselves in their notes of consent thereto.

But the interpretation which the United States Government places on this reservation, contained in the letter from your Diplomatic Agency of October 28, results in the fact that the United States alone, among all the Capitulatory Powers, reserves itself the right to determine, at any moment, after November 1st, 1922, and without any previous warning, the power of the Mixed Jurisdiction, as far as American citizens are concerned. The United States Government would thus enjoy a privileged position (not only!] over other powers but even in so far as the Egyptian Government itself is concerned.

Thus the power to denounce (or terminate), without previous warning, the agreement concerning the Mixed Tribunals, is neither in the interest of American citizens nor in the interest of foreigners or Egyptians appearing in the Mixed Courts. This power would result in a constant state of uncertainty, all the more regrettable since one can hardly imagine that it could be made use of without first having considered the consequences of a return to the regime previous to the institution of the tribunals of judicial reform in 1875.

In your letter of March 25 it is true that you declared that your Government did not anticipate the necessity of having to retract its adhesion to the Mixed Tribunals without first having given sufficient warning.

While thanking you for this statement, the Egyptian Government would be glad to receive, in order to terminate the actual uncertainty in regard to the matter, a definite assurance that the Government of the United States is not aiming to obtain a privileged position in the matter, and further that it accepts the same conditions which have been accepted by other powers, in other words, to agree to give a notice of one year in case of the termination of the agreement.

I would, therefore, be grateful if you would submit again this question to your Government from this point of view, and I sincerely hope that it will meet with a favourable reception on the part of your Government. Accept [etc.]



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

No. 50

WASHINGTON, October 24, 1922. Sir: The Department acknowledges the receipt of your despatch No. 97, of June 16, 1922, with which you transmitted a copy of a communication from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, referring to previous correspondence concerning the terms of this Government's consent to the indefinite prolongation of the Mixed Court arrangement and requesting an assurance that this Government does not seek a privileged position with respect to the conditions under which it may withdraw from the arrangement and that it will not withdraw without having given notice of its intention one year in advance of its withdrawal.

You may assure the Foreign Office that the Government of the United States does not seek a privileged position in this matter and that, in the absence of such modifications in the existing arrangement as would render it doubtful whether American citizens could obtain in the Mixed Courts the same impartial justice now administered in those Courts, this Government will not withdraw from the Mixed Court arrangement without having given notice of its intention so to do at least one year in advance of its actual withdrawal. In this relation you may again refer to the terms of the President's Proclamation of March 27, 1876, and particularly to the two paragraphs of the Proclamation which read as follows:

"And whereas satisfactory information has been received by me that the government of Egypt has organized other tribunals on a basis likely to secure to citizens of the United States in the dominions subject to such government the impartial justice which they now enjoy there under the judicial functions exercised by the minister, consuls, or other functionaries of the United States, pursuant to the said act of Congress approved June 22, 1860:

“Now, therefore, I, Ulysses S. Grant, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the power and authority conferred upon me by the said act, approved March 23, 1874, do hereby suspend during the pleasure of the President the operation of the said act approved June 22, 1860, as to the said dominions, subject to the government of Egypt in which such tribunals have been organized, so far as the jurisdiction of said tribunals may embrace matters now cognizable by the minister, consuls, or other functionaries of the United States in said dominions, except as to cases actually commenced before the date hereof."

In this connection it may be stated that the reservation made by this Government in signifying its consent to the indefinite prolongation of the Mixed Court arrangement was made in contemplation of the proposal, at that time under consideration, for a radical reorganization of the Mixed Courts. I am [etc.]





The British Ambassador (Geddes) to the Secretary of State

No. 136

WASHINGTON, February 25, 1922. SIR: I have the honour, on instruction from my Government, to draw attention to the present state of affairs in Abyssinia in connection with the shipment of modern fire-arms to that country.

I understand that there is now at Aden a consignment of American arms ordered in the United States and paid for by the Heir Apparent, Ras Taffari. This consignment consists of six machine guns, six repeating rifles and thirty thousand rounds of ammunition.

The importation of arms into Abyssinia has, since the war, been practically stopped by the operation of the Tripartite Treaty of 1906 between Great Britain, France and Italy, reinforced by informal arrangements between these Powers.

Ras Taffari has, however, been endeavouring since April last to obtain permission to import the consignment of American arms to which I have already referred. The French and Italian Governments have agreed to their importation. His Majesty's Government have not yet agreed but have the matter under consideration. Should permission eventually be given by His Majesty's Government it will be in return for strict guarantees that the arms will remain in the personal possession of Ras Taffari.

In view, however, of the present conditions it is, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, most undesirable that the importation of arms into Abyssinia except in the most restricted quantities, should be permitted. I feel sure that this opinion is fully shared by the Government of the United States and that it is unnecessary for me in any way to enlarge upon the unfortunate results which would be likely to flow from any widespread distribution of firearms in that country.

In the circumstances, therefore, I venture to express the hope that you may be disposed to move the competent authorities of the United States Government to take such steps as are necessary to impose effective supervision over the export of arms from the United States to Abyssinia. I have [etc.]


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