Washington, September 12, 1873.
The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note of Mr. Schlözer, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Emperor of Germany, requesting that the consul-general of the United States at Alexandria, in Egypt, may be instructed to surrender certain packages supposed to contain valuables, which packages are said to be in the possession of one Twiney, an attorney of Leopold Ungar, the reputed owner of the valuables. With a view to show the reasonableness of this request, Mr. Schlözer sets forth certain antecedents of the said Ungar, and calls upon this Government to decide accordingly that he is not a citizen of the United States.
In reply the undersigned has the honor to state that the Mr. Twiney referred to is quite unknown to this Department, though a person of that name has been mentioned in communications from the consul-general of the United States at Alexandria, as an Englishman and the attorney of Ungar there. Even, however, if he were a citizen of the United States, there is no authority here to compel him to surrender property in his possession as requested by Mr. Schlözer. If German subjects claim such property, such claim must be asserted before the customary authority at Alexandria, which, it is presumed, will decide the case pursuant to law.
It is supposed that the national character of Leopold Ungar has nothing to do with the question involved. Even, however, if it were otherwise, this is more properly a judicial question, which it is believed it is not competent for executive authority definitively to decide.
Accept a renewed assurance of my very high consideration.