Mr. Everett to Mr. Evarts.
Berlin, April 23, 1879. (Received May 8.)
Sir: I have the honor to report for your consideration to occurrence which I have felt obliged to make the subject of a representation to the German foreign office.
During the past week William Knoth, who has been the messenger of this legation for nearly five years, was summoned to appear before the military authorities for duty on the reserve list. He reported himself Accordingly, duly provided with the official certificate of his position in the legation, which has heretofore always been sufficient to secure his immediate discharge. On this occasion, however, he returned with a note from the military authorities to the effect that he could no longer be exempted, and that he must report himself for twelve days’ military duty on the 22d instant.
I immediately addressed a note (Inclosure 1) to Mr. von Bülow requesting the servant’s discharge as the legation could ill dispense with his services. To this a prompt verbal answer was brought by one of the secretaries of the foreign office to the effect that Mr. von Bülow had been unable to obtain from the military authorities any concession in favor of Knoth. I then addressed a private note to Mr. von Bülow repeating the appeal more in detail, but his answer only encouraged me to hope that by addressing him another official note I might obtain a diminution of our messenger’s term of service.
I accordingly have to-day sent the note (Inclosure 2) to the foreign office which I trust will have the desired effect. I shall forward the reply to you as soon as received.
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There might be various reasons why the representatives of nations immediately bordering on Germany should submit to this military requisition to avoid raising any international difficulties in addition to those already existing between them and Germany, but I cannot think it well for the United States, which are so liberal to foreigners in this respect, to allow this to pass without protest, and a distinct statement from the German Government as to what we have a right to expect from them in the way of diplomatic privileges.
I have, &c.,