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the armies, by the commissions officially named to procure means, or by the government of provinces that helped said armies, should be admitted as proof.
In all the other cases there was no limitation as to the means or burden of proof, this always belonging to the part of the plaintiff.
These laws fixed the time in which the claimants ought to present themselves, and that term baving expired, no more claims were allowed; on the other hand, there were very few who?
. Treaties, also, have been made with various nations as to the form of proceeding and payments of the same kind of damages done to aliens, besides those caused during the war of independence, that have not been paid yet to the citizens. The amount of those damages has been generally fixed by commissioners of arbitrators appointed by the executive and foreign ministers, and paid in public funds or treasury bonds.
Nearly all these claims are already decided, there being very few that are as yet unsettled.
The government has no privilege whatever respecting proofs, but simply those belonging to its condition as defendant.
It is incumbent in the claimant, who is called the creditor, to produce sufficient proof of the truth of his demand, and not on the executive, who only judges the merits of the proof without in any wise preventing the presentation of documents or declarations to the contrary, whenever they can be obtained, as would happen with any other party sued.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
THOS. O. OSBORN. Hon. HAMILTON FISH,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 12, 1875. SIR : Referring to previous correspondence upon the subject, I have now the honor to inclose, for the information of the committee over which you preside, a copy of a dispatch of the 8th of January ultimo, No. 303, from the minister of the United States at Copenhagen, and of its inclosure, in relation to the course pursued by the government of Denmark in the adjustment of claims presented by its own subjects, or by the subjects or citizens of foreign governments. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
HAMILTON FISH. Hon. WILLIAM LAWRENCE, Chairman of the Committee on War-Claims,
House of Representatives.
Mr. Cramer to Mr. Fish, January 8, 1875, No. 303, with accompani. ments.
Mr. Cramer to Mr. Fish.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Copenhagen, January 8, 1875. SIR: Referring to the Department's communication of June 23, 1874, requesting exact and trustworthy information in regard to the course pursued by the government of Denmark in relation to the adjustment of claims presented against that government, either by its own subjects or by the subjects or citizens of foreign governments, as well as in regard to the mode of procedure adopted in the investigation and determination
of such claims, I have the honor to inform you that on the 30th of July, 1874, I addressed a note to the Danish minister for foreign affairs, requesting him to furnish me with the desired information for transmission to the Government of the United States. For the purpose of showing him more precisely the nature of the information desired, I inclosed in my note a copy of the “ Schedule of Inquiries” that had been inclosed in the Department's communication. A copy of my note I herewith inclose, marked No. 1.
The reasons for addressing the said note to the minister for foreign affairs were: 1. The belief that, as the Department desired exact and trustworthy information, none would be better able to furnish it than the government itself. '2. That, had I requested an able lawyer to furnish me with the same, he would have, in all probability, asked a large fee for it, for the payment of which I had no authority.
After having waited five months-though, during that time, I have twice alluded to the subject in my conversations with the minister for foreign affairs—I received, on the 2d instant, a note from him, dated December 31, 1874, in which he answers seriatim the questions contained in the schedule of inquiries referred to. A copy of this note is herewith inclosed, marked No. 2. I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. J. CRAMER. Hon. HAMILTON FISH,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
List of inclosures.
1. Copy of a note addressed by Mr. Cramer to the minister for foreign affairs, marked No. 1.
2. Copy of a note addressed by the Danish minister for foreign affairs to Mr. Cramer, marked No. 2.
3. A printed copy (in French) of the constitution of the Kingdom of Denmark, referred to in the minister's note, marked No. 3.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Copenhagen, July 30, 1871. EXCELLENCY: My government desires me to procure exact and trustworthy information in regard to the course pursued by the government of His Majesty the King of Denmark, in relation to the adjustment of claims presented against the said government, wliether by its own subjects or by citizens or subjects of foreign governments.
The reason why my Government wishes to possess such information is the desire to establish, as far as may be practicable, a general and uniform system and mode of procedure for the investigation and determination of claims presented against the Government of the United States, whether by its own citizens or by citizens or subjects of other governments.
I therefore take the liberty to request your excellency to have the goodness, so far as may be consistent with the rules and regulations of His Majesty's government in such cases, to furnish me with the desired information ; and also, where such information is based upon legislative enactments, or public and general regulations by the executive departments, to send me copies of such laws and published regulations, for transmission to my Government.
For the purpose of showing more precisely the nature of the information desired I take the liberty to inclose herewith a list of inquiries numbered from 1 to 7, inclusive, pointing more directly to the particular points upon which information is most desired.
Be pleased, your excellency, to accept renewed assurances of my most distinguished consideration.
M. J. CRAMER. His Excellency BARON O. D. ROSENÖRN-LEIN,
Royal Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs, S'c.
COPENHAGEN, December 31, 1874. Sır: In the note which you were pleased to address me, under date of the 30th of July last, you expressed a desire to be furnished with information as to the rules established in Denmark relative to claims presented against the government of the King, either by its own subjects or by foreigners, and especially in regard to the manner in which claimants are required to furnish evidence of the validity of their claims.
In order to comply with this request I have requested the competent departments to answer the various questions propounded by you, and I am now enabled, by the communications which have been received by me from these departments, to furnish you with the desired information, which, for the sake of greater clearness, I shall have the honor to submit to you in such a way that each question will be answered separately.
1. “Are claims against the government investigated, determined, and, if allowed, their payment directed and provided for, by the legislative branch of the government ?”
1. According to the laws of Denmark it is the province of the executive department of the government, properly so called, to examine all claims presented against the treasury, to decide to what extent they can be allowed, and finally to cause to be paid to the claimants the sums to which they are entitled according to the decision. Although, therefore, the legislative branch does not interfere directly in matters of this nature, the competency of the executive branch is essentially limited in matters of this nature by section 49 of the constitution of the Kingdom of Denmark of June 5, 1849, revised and promulgated July 28, 1866, according to which “no expenditure can be made which is not authorized by the said law, or by a supplementary appropriation.”
The executive branch of the Danish government cannot, therefore, allow such claims, unless the Rigsdag has previously appropriated the money deemed necessary for this purpose; and it is only in urgent cases that it can, on its own responsibility, allow any claims without having been authorized to do so by the Rigsdag, to which it must then apply in order to obtain, by means of a supplementary appropriation, the sanction of the expenditure made by it. For the sake of greater control over the acts of the executive department, it is prescribed by section 50 of the constitution that each of the chambers of the Rigsdag, namely, the folkething and the landsthing, are to appoint two paid examiners, whose duty it is “ to examine the accounts of the fiscal year, and to see whether all moneys received by the state have been properly entered, and whether any expenditures, other than those allowed by the budget, have been made.” When this examination, which is very different from the examination made in the bureaus of the various ministries, has been made, the annual accounts of the state, together with the remarks of the examiners, are to be laid before the Rigsdag, which, according to section 14 of the constitution, has the right to impeach the ministers of the King for any disbursements made by them without authority from the legislative branch.
It appears from the foregoing that the general rule is that any person having claims against the Danish treasury must address the executive department, whose duty it is, within the limits above stated, to examine them, and to allow them if they are found to be just.
2. "If the legislative authority does entertain such claims, what is the mode of procedure, by committee or otherwise, and what means, if any, are provided for procuring evidence on behalf of the government ? ”
2. This rule, however, does not prevent a claimant, if he prefers doing so, from presenting his claim to the Rigsdag, provided he observe the provision of section 63 of the constitution, which is “that no proposal shall be submitted to the chambers except through one of their members.” If the claim has not been presented to the executive department before it is laid before the Rigsdag, that body confines itself to transmitting it, without comment, to the competent minister, who then treats it as if it had been gubmitted to him directly. On the other hand, if the claim has been rejected by the executive department, and if, in consequence, the fact of its presentation to the Rigsdag implies dissatisfaction with the executive decision, the Rigsdag may, according to section 64 of the constitution, return it to the competent minister with or without recommendation. In acting thus, the Rigsdag indicates that, in its opinion, the claim deserves to be taken into consideration by the executive department, although its return to the minister can give the claim no legal value other than that which it intrinsically possesses.
3. “What provision, if any, is made for the examination and determination of claims by the executive department; what is the mode of procedure in the investigation of claims by or before executive officers; and what means are provided for procúring evidence on behalf of the government ? "
3. As regards proofs of the validity of claims against the Danish treasury, the esecutive department demands none stricter than those which, according to the ordinary laws of procedure, are admissible before the courts in private cases. Save the exception which will be mentioned under number four, the claimant may, even if he considers himself aggrieved by the attitude taken by the executive department in regard to his claim, bring suit against the competent minister in the manner prescribed for civil cases between private citizens.
4. “Is there any provision of law allowing a subject to sue the government in the regularly-established courts or in any special tribunal; and does the privilege of maintaining an action against the government (if it exists) extend to aliens ?”
4. According to the laws of Denmark, both the subjects of the kingdom and the subjects of another state have a right to bring suit before the courts against the executive department as well as against a private citizen. To this rule there is but one exception, employés appointed since April 1, 1870, not being allowed, according to section 12 of a law of March 26, 1870, to cause such disputes as may arise between them and the ministers with regard to their salaries to be submitted to the decision of the courts. Disputes of this nature are settled by the minister of finance conjointly with the minister under whom the functionary interested is employed.
5. “What is the status of aliens before the regularly-established courts of the country? Can they maintain an action in such courts against a subject; and, if so, does the privilege extend to all aliens, or is it confined to resident aliens only ? "
5. As regards the status of aliens in the courts of Denmark, they are placed upon the same footing as the subjects of the kingdom. They may, therefore, although not domiciled in Denmark, bring suit against the subjects of the country before these courts.
6. “If different systems of adjudication exist as regards different classes of claims, what is the system with reference to each class, and what the mode of procedure and the privilege of the government in relation to evidence in its behalf, and the means of procuring such evidence ?"
6. As has already been observed under number 3, the laws of Denmark prescribe no different rules of procedure, whether the suit be brought against the government of the King or against a private individual.
I inclose to you a copy of the constitution of the kingdom of Denmark; and I avail myself of this occasion to beg you, sir, to accept the assurances of my most distinguished consideration.
0. D. ROSENÖRN-LEHN. Mr. CRAMER,
Minister Resident of the United States of America.