to Mr. Fish.
States Legation, Japan,
July 17, 1875.
(Received August 13.)
Sir: On the 4th instant I received from Thomas B.
Van Buren, esq., consul-general of the United States at Kanagawa, a
communication dated the 3d instant, relative to the extradition of a person
charged with the embezzlement of the money of his employers, and who, it is
alleged, has taken refuge in California, a copy of which communication I
have the honor to inclose herewith, (inclosure 1.)
It seemed to me proper to acquaint the consul-general that, in my opinion, he
had no jurisdiction in the case as stated, nor was the party charged,
assuming him to be an English subject, within the extradition [Page 818] provisions of the existing
treaties between England and the United States; a copy of which opinion, as
sent to the consul-general, is herewith, (inclosure 2.)
It seems to me that rules 279 and 280 (Revised Consular Regulations, page 68)
manifestly adopted in aid of the act of 1860, (12 Statutes at Large, page
84, section 1,) necessarily imply that the consul-general has no
jurisdiction in cases of the extradition of criminals, save when expressly
instructed by the Department of State or the diplomatic representative of
the United States to assist in the arrest and detention of criminals for
their extradition from a foreign country to the United States.
These rules would seem to exclude the conclusion that the consul-general of
the United States could take action in Japan for the extradition of a
British subject from the United States to Japan “to be tried in a British
court,” as the consul-general states.
So far as I know, the only extradition-treaty provisions now in force between
the United States and Great Britain are contained in the 10th article of the
Webster and Ash burton treaty, negotiated at Washington 9th August, 1842.
That treaty makes no provision for the extradition of persons charged with
the embezzlement of the money of their employers, or with the embezzlement
of public money.
I am, &c.,
[Inclosure 1 in No. 245.]
Mr. Van Buren to
July 3, 1875.
Sir: At the request of Mr. Brooke, editor of
the Japan Herald, I write to ask your opinion and advice upon a matter
connected with the existing extradition treaty between England and the
A collector for the Herald and some other business houses has decamped on
the Great Republic for San Francisco, carrying with him quite an amount
of money belonging to his employers.
The latter desire to arrest him, and, if possible, have him brought back
here for trial. They desire to know—
- Does the extradition treaty permit extradition for the crime
- Does it permit the extradition of the accused to the empire of
Japan to be tried in a British court?
- If yes, what steps are necessary, and who is the proper
officer to whom to apply here for the necessary papers?
- Can the accused be arrested in San Francisco and held to await
the necessary papers by a telegram?
My own opinion is that the accused cannot be brought here, but I shall
await your advice.
Your obedient servant,
THOS. B. VAN BUREN,
Hon. John A. Bingham,
United States Minister.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 245.]
Mr. Bingham to Mr.
Sir: Your communication of the 3d instant, in
relation to the extradition of a person who has lied to the United
States, accused of embezzlement while in the employment of Mr. Brooke,
has been received.
I infer from the tenor of your communication that the person charged is a
British subject, and committed his offense in Japan.
It is my opinion that the question raised by Mr. Brooke, whether the
person so charged and now in the United States can be arrested there
under the extradition provisions of our existing treaties with Great
Britain, is a question over which you have no jurisdiction, and that the
party so charged is not by said treaties liable to be arrested in the
United States for the crime charged against him, and therefore would not
be surrendered under the existing treaties as a fugitive from justice to
be returned to Japan to answer before a British tribunal.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Thos. B. Van Buren, Esq.
United States Consul-General, Yokohama.