No. 280.
Mr. Evarts to Mr. White .

No. 161.]

Sir: Referring to your recent dispatches in regard to the arrest of American naturalized citizens in Germany charged with owing military service there, I have to inform you that the frequency of the application for the intervention of this government in such cases has become a source of deep concern to this Department. Independently of the distress and annoyance which these frequent arrests occasion to the individuals so arrested, they are the cause of great anxiety to German naturalized citizens desiring to revisit their native country either for purposes of business or pleasure.

In view of the friendly disposition, which the Imperial German Government has manifested in promptly and satisfactorily settling the cases which have lately arisen, particularly those of Weill and Genres, the present is deemed a favorable opportunity to bring this subject to the attention of that government, by informing it that the early and favorable consideration given by it to the above-mentioned cases has afforded this Department reason to hope that the Imperial German Government may now be disposed to adopt some general rule for the disposition of these cases which might relieve both governments from the embarrassment which is now brought upon them by the frequent recurrence of the arrests of American citizens in Germany.

In view of the friendly spirit with which the Imperial German Government has always considered complaints upon this subject, and its prompt and favorable action in relation to them, it seems to this Department that it may be possible that these arrests may often occur in consequence of the overzealous action of subordinate authorities; and that, if such is the case, the German Imperial Government, in its wisdom, might prevent many vexatious and unnecessary arrests of American citizens by a general order on the subject. In the opinion of this Department it is highly inexpedient for the two powers to be continually engaged in the settlement of cases which involve no disputed [Page 449] legal questions and no facts which could not, in most cases, be satisfactorily ascertained without the necessity of first making arrests.

I have, therefore, to instruct you to bring this subject to the attention of the imperial foreign office at an early day, with the view of securing the adoption by the German Government of such general rules upon the subject in question as may, so far as practicable, prevent the unnecessary arrest of American citizens in Germany.

I am, &c.,