Montreux Convention Regarding the Abolition of the Capitulations in Egypt
The Montreux Convention Regarding the Abolition of the Capitulations in Egypt was an international convention concluded on May 8, 1937, which led to the abolishing of the extraterritorial legal system for foreigners in Egypt, known as the capitulations. It was signed by the governments of Egypt, the United States of America, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain (the Republican side in the civil war), France, Greece, Italy, Ethiopia, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. It went into effect on October 15, 1937 and was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on the same day.
The capitulations system was introduced into Egypt during the 19th century as a result of international pressure on the Egyptian government by the western powers, especially the British Empire. Following the First World War, a wave of nationalism was on the rise in Egypt, and the government, backed by the newly established Wafd Party, put growing demands before the British government - then in control of Egypt - to abolish the capitulations system while placing foreigners under the local Egyptian legal system. As a result, several of the foreign courts were abolished in 1920-1921, while their nationals were placed under British consular jurisdiction. This did not satisfy the demands of the Egyptian government regarding the total abolition of capitulations.
A new opportunity arose following the conclusion of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936, after which negotiations began to settle the abolition of capitulations in Egypt. This led to the conclusion of the convention.
Terms of the agreement
The agreement provided for the total abolition of capitulations and the placing of foreigners in Egypt under the Egyptian legal system. The date set for the abolition of the consular courts was October 15, 1949, following a transition period of 12 years.
- League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. 182, pp. 38-103.