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The search of the person of a foreign consul, his imprisonment, and the carrying off of his archives by the general in command of the United States Army in a captured city is a violation of the law of nations, for which the government of the United States considers itself bound to apologize and to give all other suitable redress.
Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr. Van Limburg, June 5, 1862; same to
same, Aug. 20, 1862; Sept. 4, 1862: MS. Notes to Netherlands, VI. 195, 207, 214.
With reference to the case of Mr. Dalton, a citizen of the United
States, and United States consul at Cindad Bolivar, Dalton's Case.
Venezuela, who was reported to have been arrested and for three days imprisoned by order of President Guzman Blanco, the Department of State said: “Mr. Dalton belongs to a class of consuls authorized to transact business. If he does, he is for all purposes of such business subject to the same treatment as any other American resident engaged in trade in Venezuela. He is manifestly subject to no less favorable treatment, although he may have no specific personal exemptions or privileges by reason of his office. But if he, a consul, has been subjected to treatment to which no American citizen under the treaty can be, that is, to imprisonment in virtue of an executive order without trial or opportunity for legal defense, then the fact of his being known as the representative of a friendly power might be deemed to aggravate the injury committed.”
Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Baker, min. to Venezuela, May
12, 1881, For. Rel. 1884, 585. It afterwards appeared that Mr. Dalton, being ill at the time, was not
arrested, but that his son was taken and imprisoned, apparently as a “substitute.” A question was raised as to the American citizenship of Dalton, jr. (Id. 586-597.)
Complaint having been made by the German government that the
German imperial consul at Cincinnati, Ohio, was German Consol at interfered with in the discharge of his duties by a Cincinnati.
certain person who used misleading advertisements and displayed the German flag before his office so as to create the impression that he was a German consul and thereby obtain money from misguided German subjects, the matter was referred to the Attorney-General of the United States, who expressed the opinion that the case did not come within the provisions of section 4062, Revised Statutes, and that it would be necessary to resort to the local law for a remedy. The matter was then brought to the attention of the governor of Ohio, with a reference to the consular convention between the United States and the German Empire of December 11, 1871, which provides that consular oflicers " shall not in any event be interfered with in the exercise of their official functions, further than is indispensable for the administration of the laws of the country.” The difficulty appears to have been amicably arranged by the local authorities, the person against whom the complaint was made having disclaimed any intention to create erroneous impressions and having abstained from the further use of the signs in question.
Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Gov. Foraker, May 18, 1887, 164 MS. Dom.
Let. 197; same to same, June 27, 1887, id. 492; Mr. Bayard, Sec. of
March 25, 1893, a mob at Mollendo, Peru, excited by anti-Masonic
feeling, attacked the Masonic hall, at which a funeral Riot at Mollendo.
was at the time being held, and, after driving out the participants, sacked and burned the building. In the attack on the hall, the office of Mr. Meier, the acting consul-general of the United States, which was near by, incidentally suffered, and Mr. Meier himself was wounded in the leg with a bullet. It was stated that there was a squad of police present, but that it looked on without interfering with the acts of the mob. The minister of the United States at Lima, in response to his telegraphic report of the occurrence, was, on April 6, 1893, instructed to protest against the lack of protection to the consul on the part of the authorities, and, in the event of the circumstances being found to be as he had reported, to ask that reparation be made for the injury inflicted on the person and property of Mr. Meier; that regret be expressed, and that the offenders be promptly prosecuted. Before this instruction was received the Peruvian government, acting upon a presentation of the circumstances by the American minister, had voluntarily expressed its regret, promised reparation, and stated that measures had been taken to punish the guilty. The apparent inaction or connivance of the local police was explained on the ground that the smallness of their number rendered t! Am powerless to contend against the crowd; but the subprefect was suspended from his duties and submitted to trial in order that the question of his conduct and responsibility might be properly determined. In view of this voluntary action of the Peruvian government a fornral protest was not presented. In June, 1893, the case was finally settled by Peru's paying the sum of 2,000 soles, in full discharge of all claims of Mr. Meier for damages resulting from injuries to his person and his property.
Mr. Gresham, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hicks, min. to l'eru, tel. April 6, 1893,
For. Rel. 1893, 510.
In 1895 the British Government demanded an indemnity for the
alleged arbitrary arrest and expulsion by Nicaragua Case of British
of certain British subjects from the Mosquito Re"proconsul."
serve. Among the persons so arrested and expelled was Mr. Hatch, British “ proconsul," or acting vice-consul, at Bluefields. In regard to Mr. Hatch the British Government said: “Although Mr. Hatch was not strictly speaking an officer in Her Majesty's consular service, it might have been expected that the Nicaraguan authorities in the reserve, who carried on a correspondence with him and made use of his services in a consular capacity whenever and so long as it suited their convenience to do so, would, as a matter of ordinary courtesy, have communicated with Her Majesty's Government before resorting to so extreme a measure as the arrest of that gentleman."
Lord Kimberley, For. Sec., to Dr. Barrios, Nicaraguan min. at London,
Feb. 26, 1895, For. Rel. 1895, II. 1025. Compliance with the demand for indemnity in its entirety, in respect of all the British subjects involved, was compelled by reprisals. (Id. 1029-1034.)
In 1896 the Spanish minister at Washington represented that
Cubans and their associates at Jacksonville, Florida, Spanish consul at
were meditating an attack on the Spanish consul, and Jacksonville.
that attacks had actually been made upon confidential agents employed by the legation and acting under orders of the consul. These representations were brought to the attention of the governor of Florida, with the expression of the conviction that the authorities of the State would take all proper and lawful steps to “ protect the consular representatives of a friendly nation and the agents employed by him in the furtherance of the legitimate purposes of his mission."
Mr. Olney, Sec. of State, to gov. of Florida, Oct. 6, 1896, 213 MS. Dom.
Oct. 6, 1896, 213 MS. Dom. Let. 116.
MS. Dom. Let. 399.
Venezuela, had been attacked and wounded, and that American inter-
An alleged assault committed upon the United States vice-consul
general, Mr. E. V. Kellett, at Chiengmai, Siam, Kellett's case.
November, 1896, was arbitrated by Mr. Barrett, United States minister at Bangkok, and Mr. Pierre Orts, assistant legal adviser to the Siamese government. It appeared that a difliculty occurred between the vice-consul-general and Siamese soldiers acting as police in regard to the arrest of a clerk of the vice-consulgeneral. It was found that the soldier police transcended their orders and acted improperly, although their conduct was to a certain extent excused by the excitement resulting from the unusual and imprudent steps taken by the vice-consul-general in the matter. It was agreed that the officer in command of the soldier police should be reprimanded and reduced in rank and suspended without pay for a year, besides not being allowed to return to Chiengmai within five years; that a punishment somewhat similar should be visited on the officer next in command and on three ordinary soldiers; that the Siamese government should express its regret, and that a copy of the decision should be officially published. It seems that some of the “recommendations” of the arbitrators were not carried into effect, and nearly two years afterwards it was recommended by the United States legation that the case should be permitted to rest where it was. The Department of State, although under the impression that the award of the arbitrators had long since been carried into effect, concurred in this recommendation.
For. Rel. 1899, 674-675.
Cases in Venezuela.
“ The several statements found in the correspondence . . . have
been read with surprise and regret, because of the
apparent indifference of the local authorities at La Guayra, in view of the action of the Federal government of Venezuela, based upon your representations, to afford Mr. Goldschmidt that measure of personal protection which is his due. It is difficult to comprehend how such acts as those complained of are permitted. The threatening of the life of a peaceable citizen, and that man a consular representative of a friendly power, can not be treated with indifference or lightly pushed aside, and the government of the United States will hold that of Venezuela to a strict accountability for any harm or insult that may be wantonly inflicted on Mr. Goldschmidt.
“You may say as much to the minister for foreign affairs, adding that the conduct of the local authorities in this case has been most disappointing, and that the treatment of a consular officer in the manner disclosed by Mr. Goldschmidt in his complaint is not calcuated to inspire that respect for law and order or that regard for the individual rights or personal liberties of peaceable, law-abiding citizens which they have a right to demand, and which the government of the United States thinks justly and properly due to one of its citizens who is, at the same time, the official representative accredited to Venezuela.
“ It may be true that Mr. Goldschmidt was not entirely blameless or sufficiently patient under the circumstances, but even so, this fact can not alter the circumstance that his personal liberties and rights ore clearly recognized under international law, and that any complaint that they are abridged or of insult offered should be treated on its merit. This is all that is asked, and is all that the government of the United States expects or demands." Mr. Hay, Sec. of State, to Mr. Loomis, min. to Venezuela, June 7, 1900,
For. Rel. 1900, 952. As stated by Mr. Goldschmidt, he was returning with his wife, on the
evening of May 4, 1900, to his residence in La Guayra, when the street, which was very narrow, was blocked by four young men, as he thought, intentionally. He made his way by, when one of them accosted him and loudly charged him with having pushed a boy. After a brief verbal altercation, Mr. Goldschmidt started to brush his interlocutor aside, when the latter made a motion toward his hips as if to draw a revolver. Mr. Goldschmidt then dealt him a blow with his cane and walked on, supposing the incident to be closed. Two days later, however, an elder brother of the interloc:utor, whose name was Golding, published a letter, addressed to the prefect of the district, denouncing the act of Mr. Goldschmidt as “cowardly and unjust,” declaring his intention to carry the matter " to the farthest limit," and demanding the execution of justice. On the 9th of May Mr. Goldschmidt, while walking with his wife and two children, was stopped by the elder Golding, who drew a revolver and threatened to shoot him, but was seized by a bystander. Mr. Goldschmidt immediately laid the affair before the prefect of police and afterward before the jefe civil, both of whom promised to have Golding arrested and sent away, but, as this apparently was not done, he reported it to the legation at Caracas. On the representations of Mr. Loomis, United States minister, President Castro instructed the civil and military commander at La Guayra to “ carry out the regulations of the police code in case of a repetition of the act," and to investigate what had already been done, Mr. Loomis, however, asked thatothe authorities be instructed “to take immediate steps to prevent a repetition of the attack upon Mr. Goldschmidt," if this had not already been done. In reply, he was advised that, according to official reports from La Guayra, there was a personal quarrel between Mr. Goldschmidt and Golding, with fault on both sides; that Golding had “suffered a six days' arrest, double the regular police punishment," and had been released in order that he might work on a neighboring plantation; and that the consul had been advised as to what would be necessary to institute a prosecution against him. Mr. Goldschmidt denied the accuracy of this version, declaring that he had had no “personal quarrel” with the elder Golding, nor had ever met him till assailed by him with the revolver. “I think,” said Mr. Loomis, in reporting the case to his government, “ under a strict interpretation of the penal code, all has been done by the authorities that may be done, unless the consul desires to enter upon a regular prosecution. What seems hard and inconsistent to the consul, doubtless, is that for an alleged political offense men are imprisoned indefinitely here, while one who threatens his life, in the presence of his family, suffers no more than six days of detention. The consul also insists that the 'would-be' assailant was not in prison six days." (For. Rel. 1900, 944-951.)