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and sea forces with regard to persons subject to the jurisdiction of those forces whatever be the territory in which they operate or the nationality of the accused. In the case of offences committed jointly or in complicity with persons subject to the jurisdiction of the said military forces, the principals and accessories who are amenable to the American land and sea forces shall be handed over for trial to the American military or naval justice, and the principals and accessories who are amenable to the French land and sea forces shall be handed over for trial to the French military or naval justice.
The Government of the United States of America and the Government of the French Republic further agree to recognize during the present war the exclusive jurisdiction within American territory of American justice over persons not belonging to the French land and sea forces who may commit acts prejudicial to the said military forces and the exclusive jurisdiction, within French territory, of French justice over persons not belonging to American land and sea forces who may commit acts prejudicial to the said military forces.
The word “persons” as used in the first paragraph of this agreement designates, together with the persons enrolled in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, any other person who under the American or French law is subject to military or naval jurisdiction, especially members of the Red Cross regularly accepted by the Government of the United States of America or the Government of the French Republic in so far as the American or French law and the customs of war place them under military or naval jurisdiction.
Should this arrangement be acceptable to the Government of the French Republic your formal notification in writing to that effect will be understood on the part of the Government of the United States as completing the arrangement and putting it into force and effect, and I shall be glad to receive your assurance that it will be so understood also on the part of the Government of the French Republic. Accept [etc.]
File No. 811.203/16
[Received January 16.] MR. SECRETARY OF STATE: By note dated the 3d of this month, Your Excellency was pleased to let me know that the President of the United States, as Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States, had authorized you to propose to me a settlement by an exchange of notes of the question of penal military jurisdiction over the French and American Armies jointly participating in this war.
Your Excellency was pleased to reproduce in the aforesaid note the terms of the contemplated arrangement, the text of which in the French language is as follows:
[Here follows the French version of the English text quoted in the preceding document.]
Duly authorized by my Government I have the honor to say to Your Excellency that it accepts the terms of that declaration and that in consequence the provisions therein contained are from this moment in effect.
My Government wishes to have the exchange of notes immediately published in the Journal Officiel to that end and I shall be much obliged to Your Excellency if you will kindly assure me that, as I surmise, you have no objection thereto. Be pleased to accept [etc.]
File No. 811.203/5
The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State
LONDON, January 21, 1918, 4 p. m.
[Received January 22, 1.48 a. m.] 8333. My telegrams 7142, September 11, 9 a. m., and 7978, December 15, 1 p. m. Following note dated January 18 just received
1 from Foreign Office:
With reference to my note of December 12, last, relative to the maintenance of discipline among United States troops in this country, I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the legal difficulties therein referred to are now becoming acute and are increasing in number with the arrival of additional United States troops in the country and the delay in arriving at a decision on the legal questions involved is causing considerable anxiety to the military authorities in this country, and in particular I understand to the United States military authorities themselves.
In this connection, 'I have the honor to transmit to Your Excellency herewith an extract from a memorandum prepared by the Judge Advocate General, which represents the urgency of the question, and I would observe that the recommendations therein made for immediate adoption are solely for the purpose of granting additional powers to the United States military authorities in order to enable them to maintain discipline among their own officers and men.
1 Latter not printed.
I understand that United States soldiers are now in arrest awaiting trial by court-martial, but cannot be tried for the reasons stated in the enclosed document and that the military authorities therefore consider it necessary to proceed forth
with to give effect, if possible, to the immediate recommendations of the Judge Advocate General, but I would point out that this is only a small part of the larger question the solution of which by the course suggested in my note of September 5 last while very desirable from the point of view of the British military authorities appears to be essential and urgent from that of the United States military authorities.
Memorandum referred to above reads as follows:
The American authorities have again been to see me this morning and pressed upon me the extreme urgency of legislation which would at all events enable them to compel witnesses to attend American courts-martial in this country.
What I would suggest is that, even before the general question of the American troops in the United Kingdom is dealt with, a Defence of the Realm regulation should be passed forth with making it an offence for a person summoned as a witness before an American court-martial to fail to attend or to refuse to be sworn, answer questions, or produce documents, or to give wilfully false evidence or to commit a contempt of court.
The further question also raised in my previous minute as to empowering American Judge Advocate to administer oaths outside the precincts of camps or buildings specially allotted for the use of American troops might be dealt with at a later stage. Signed, F. Cassell, Judge Advocate General.
File No. 811.2226/151
[Received February 1.] Mr. SECRETARY OF STATE: My Government informs me of the great interest it takes in having the question of reciprocally delivering up deserters from the French and American Armies, independently of the military convention now under consideration relative to slackers, delinquents and deserters, settled through an exchange of notes between the Ambassador of the United States at Paris and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic as has already been done by the British Ambassador and the Minister for the surrender of English and French deserters.
In this connection article 7 of the counterdraft of the aforesaid convention submitted to the Federal Government by the French Government 2 is acknowledged to constitute an agreement of the two
See section on “Military Service Conventions," ante, pp. 618–732.
Note in files: “Never received up to Feb. 14/18. L. H. W[oolsey)."
countries to deliver up deserters, but inasmuch as certain exceptions to the general rule are made in this respect in the Anglo-American draft, it would be important to make it clear that, as the French Government feels sure, the American Government does not intend to except from the said provision the American soldiers who may have deserted before the proposed convention goes into effect, now that tens of thousands of American soldiers landed in France months ago.
With the main object of delivering up at once such deserters to the provost marshals of the American Army, the Government of the Republic instructs me to ask of Your Excellency that instructions be sent at the earliest possible date to His Excellency Mr. Sharp enabling him to proceed with the contemplated exchange of notes with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Be pleased to accept [etc.]
File No. 811.203/8
WASHINGTON, February 5, 1918, 10 p, m. 6461. Your telegrams September 11 and January 21 respecting jurisdiction over American military forces in England. You may communicate regarding this matter with British Government in the sense of the following:
It is agreeable to the Government of the United States that, as outlined in the note addressed by the Foreign Office to the Embassy, under date of September 5, 1917, the British Government should legalize the assistance of the military and civil authorities in handing over to American military authorities officers and soldiers who may be found outside the limits of the quarters occupied by American troops and who are thought to have committed an offense against American military discipline or law, with a view to their being dealt with by American military authorities, whether such offense was contrary to British law or not. The Government of the United States regards it as desirable that, as suggested in the British Government's note just mentioned, American military authorities should be understood to have the right, during the present war, to retain in imprisonment in Great Britain American troops sentenced by American military tribunals to terms of imprisonment, and further, that the British Government should provide, as further suggested by them, for punishment of persons assisting deserters from American forces and persons purchasing equipment not sold by permission of American military authorities.
* See telegram No. 7142 from the Ambassador in Great Britain, ante, p. 733.
It is acceptable to the Government of the United States to have the British Government's assistance in the form suggested in their note of January 18, 1918, to the Embassy,' namely, legislation enabling American military authorities to compel witnesses to attend American courts-martial in Great Britain, and legislation making it an offense for such witnesses to fail to attend, or to refuse to be sworn, answer questions, or produce documents, or to give false evidence, or to commit contempt of court, and legislation empowering American judge advocates to administer oaths outside the precincts of camps or buildings allotted to the use of American troops.
While action in accordance with the British Government's proposals may be satisfactory to deal temporarily with existing conditions, it may be advisable that a comprehensive agreement should be concluded with regard to jurisdiction over American troops in British territory and over British troops in American territory similar to that which has been concluded by the British Government with the Government of France. Such an agreement has been entered into by this Government with France, by an exchange of notes. It is doubtful, however, what effect the courts in the United States would give such an informal agreement. On the other hand, most if not all of the cases under the French agreement will arise in France, where such an agreement is effective.
The Department would be glad to receive an expression of the British Government's views respecting this matter.
File No. 811.2226/161
[Received March 5.] MR. SECRETARY OF STATE: As orally stated to the Honorable Solicitor of the Department by Mr. de Laboulaye, in my name, yesterday, the Government of the Republic greatly desires, on account of the ever growing number of American soldiers arriving in France, to conclude at the earliest possible date an agreement with the Federal Government for the purpose of ensuring the reciprocal delivery to the military authorities of the two countries of deserters from their respective Armies, under the conditions which I had the honor to outline to Your Excellency in my note of January 26 last.
It is my Government's earnest desire, shared, as it seems, by General Pershing that His Excellency Mr. Sharp be authorized to insert
1 See telegram No. 8333 from the Ambassador in Great Britain, ante p. 737.