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File No. 811.2222/1931
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Page)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, December 18, 1917. 6054. Your 7954, December 13.1

1. Article 4 as proposed by the British Government is acceptable to this Government. This article as received reads as follows:

ARTICLE 4. In the event of a special arrangement relating to military service being made between the United States Government and the Government of Canada this convention will not apply to British subjects in the United States to whom such special arrangement applies.

We will await the concurrence of the Canadian Government. In accepting this article it is understood that any British subjects ordinarily resident in Canada will come within the convention unless they hold certificates issued under article 3 of the convention, and that Canadians will not come within the convention.

2. As to the operation of the convention with regard to declarants, this Government is advised that British subjects who are exempted by exemption boards under the Draft Act for military service on account of their alienage and who subsequently take out their first papers, become immediately thereafter subject to conscription under the Draft Act. As other British declarants within the age limits of the British law fall within the terms of the convention, there would seem to be no class of declarants who would escape military service in the United States. It may clarify the situation, however, if an additional provision were added to the convention as suggested by the British Government, setting forth our understanding on this point. I would therefore suggest the following to be added as a paragraph to article 5:

British subjects in the United States who have declared or shall during the life of this agreement declare their intention to become citizens of the United States and who are or shall become subject to military service under the Selective Service Act of May 18, 1917, are excluded from the operation of this convention.

LANSING

*Not printed.

File No. 811.2222/2598b
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Sharp)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, January 7, 1918. 3041. I am on the point of signing a conscription agreement with Great Britain in the form of the draft at the end of this telegram.

Please present this draft as a new proposal on the part of the United States regarding a compulsory military service agreement, and state that I should be pleased to sign an agreement with the French Government as nearly as possible along the lines of this draft. It is necessary that the agreement with Great Britain, France and Italy be as nearly alike as possible, on account of the insuperable difficulties which would be met in endeavoring to administer in the United States several conscription agreements greatly differing in principle and effect. Article 4 of the attached draft would of course not apply to France, but this could be replaced by an article dealing with the apprehension of deserters, in something like the following language:

It is agreed that the authorities of each country, on the request of the designated authorities of the other, will endeavor to apprehend and take into custody persons who have deserted from the armed forces of the latter subsequent to the date of the exchange of ratifications of this agreement, and deliver them over to the designated authorities of their own Government.

Draft of agreement follows:

1. All male British subjects in the United States and all male citizens of the United States in Great Britain shall, unless they return within the periods laid down in this convention to Great Britain or the United States respectively for the purpose of military service in their own country be subject to military service and entitled to exemption therefrom under the laws of the country in which they are, provided that in respect to such British subjects in the United States the age limits for compulsory military service shall be the age limits for the time being specified for compulsory military service under the laws of Great Britain; and reciprocally, in respect to such citizens of the United States in Great Britain, the age límits for compulsory military service shall be the age limits for the time being specified for [compulsory] military service under the laws of the United States.

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1 The same, mutatis mutandis, on the same date, to the Ambassador in Italy (No. 1025), with the following addition preceding the draft of agreement: “ On account of the treaty of 1871 it will be necessary to add an additional article as follows: This agreement while in force, but not thereafter, suspends and holds in abeyance any provisions inconsistent therewith in the treaty of February 26, 1871, or in any other treaty between the United States and Italy.'” (File No. 811.2222/2598a.)

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2. Citizens of the United States in Great Britain and British subjects in the United States referred to in article 1 and who desire to enter the military service of their own country must make application to enter such service in such manner if any as may be prescribed by the laws or regulations of the country in which they are and must leave Great Britain for [or] the United States as the case may be for the purpose of military service in their own country within 60 days from the date of the exchange of ratifications of this convention or within 30 days from the date when such citizens or subjects attain military age in accordance with article 1 or within 30 days from the date on which any certificate of exemption issued under article 3 becomes inoperative unless sooner renewed or within 30 days from the date on which any application for such certificate of exemption is refused unless sooner allowed, as the case may be.

3. The Government of the United States and His Britannic Majesty's Government may through their respective diplomatic representatives grant certificates of exemption from military service to citizens of the United States in Great Britain and British subjects in the United States respectively upon application or otherwise within 60 days from the date of the exchange of ratifications of this convention or within 30 days from the date when such citizens or subjects attain military age in accordance with article 1. Persons holding such certificates shall so long as the certificate is in force not be liable to military service in the country in which they are. Such certificates may be special or general, temporary or conditional, modified, renewed, or revoked in the discretion of the government concerned.

4. In the event of a special agreement relating to military service being made between the United States Government and the Government of Canada this convention will not apply to British subjects in the United States to whom such special arrangement applies.

5. Persons who possess both British and American nationality shall be regarded for the purpose of this convention as possessing exclusively the nationality of the country in which they are at the date of the exchange of ratifications of this convention.

British subjects in the United States who have declared or shall during the life of this agreement declare their intention to become citizens of the United States and who are or shall become subject to military service under the Selective Service Act of May 18, 1917, are excluded from the operation of this convention.

6. His Britannic Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States will respectively so far as possible facilitate the return of citizens of the United States and British subjects who may desire to return to their own country for military service but shall not be responsible for providing transport or the cost of transport for such persons.

7. No citizen or subject of either country who under the provisions of this convention enters the military service of the other shall by reason of such service be considered after this convention expires or after his discharge to be under any allegiance to the United States or to His Majesty the King of Great Britain and Ireland as the case may be.

8. The present convention shall be ratified by His Britannic Majesty and by the President of the United States of America by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof and the ratifications shall be exchanged at Washington as soon as possible. It shall come into operation on the date on which ratifications thereof are exchanged and shall remain in force until either country shall cease to be a co-belligerent in the present war. Thereupon any citizen or subject of such country incorporated into military service under this agreement shall be forth with discharged from such service.

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File No. 811.2222/2612
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Page)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, January 15, 1918. 6251. Your 8219, January 10. If delay in reaching agreement with Canada in regard to article 4 is not too prolonged, I would prefer to wait a short while before signing conscription agreement omitting article 4. Political conditions, however, may change at any moment making it necessary for me to proceed to signature, in which event I will telegraph you in advance. I am most anxious, however, to have the British Government continue to urge the Canadian Government to accept article 4 as it now stands. The Canadian representatives are here for the purpose of negotiating separate convention, but matter has not yet been taken up.

The verbal changes indicated by you are accepted and have been made in Department's draft.

LANSING

File No. 811.2222/3050

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram
LONDON, January 24, 1918, 6 p. m.

[Received January 25, 12.42 a. m.] 8382. Your telegram 6251, January 15. Foreign Office referring to communication received through British Chargé d'Affaires, Washington, state they assume it is now proposed that article 4 of military service convention should read as follows:

4. A special arrangement being in contemplation as to British subjects born, naturalized, or ordinarily resident in the Dominion of Canada, this convention will not apply to British subjects in the United States (1) not born in Canada but ordinarily resident in Canada, or (2) born or naturalized in Canada and not ordinarily resident in a part of the British Empire other than Great Britain or Canada.

1 Not printed.

This wording is quite satisfactory to the British Government.

I am informed that the only point now outstanding is second paragraph, article 5, which the British Chargé d'Affaires is taking up with you, and that when this point has been settled nothing will stand in the way of signature of convention. Meanwhile Foreign Office desire to hear that wording proposed for article 4 is acceptable to you. The British Government attach the greatest importance to this matter and Mr. Balfour has expressed to me the earnest hope that it will. be found possible to meet their wishes.

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File No. 811.2222/3244a
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Page)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, January 30, 1918, 4 p. m. 6390. We have initialed an agreement with Canada and are in practical agreement with Great Britain in respect to conscription conventions. It has been found desirable to modify the British agreement to correspond with the Canadian agreement, in order that both might be as nearly alike as possible. The texts of both agreements are appended hereto. It will be observed that the language has been improved in the interest of clearness and definiteness, and that four important changes have been introduced :

1. The ages applicable to British subjects in the United States have been placed at 20 to 40 years, both inclusive. It is proposed, for administrative reasons, to adopt these ages in all agreements made with the co-belligerents.

2. Declarants subject to our Draft Act will be given the option of serving under their own colors.

3. Diplomatic exemption has been further broadened by omitting the periods within which it must be exercised.

4. Article 4 has been rewritten so as to exclude the persons defined in article 1 of the Canadian agreement. It has also been deemed necessary to add a further definition of British subjects who shall not come within the terms of the British agreement, in order to avoid any obligation under the convention to conscript Irishmen in the United States. This definition is set forth in section (6) of article 4. If there is no objection to this article as rewritten, this Government would prefer to have this definite statement appear in section (6). If there is objection to this, this Government is willing to sign the agreement with section (6) omitted, on the specific understanding that the United States

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