No. 428.
Mr. Pendleton to Mr. Bayard.

No. 538.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that in pursuance of instruction No. 214, of the 5th of May last, in reference to the arrest and eventual release of three Americans, Charles Schwalb, A. C. Postel, and Julius Postel, at Zurich, in consequence of a request to that effect by telegraph from the authorities of the Grand Duchy of Baden, I addressed a note to the foreign office, under date of May 31, 1887, and that on the 14th of this present month I received an answer from Count Berchem, temporarily in charge.

A copy of my note to the foreign office and the answer, with translation of the latter, are herewith inclosed.

It will be observed that the recital of the facts contained in the response of the foreign office gives the grounds for the suspicion on which the authorities of Baden asked the arrest of the parties implicated, and states that while in view of these grounds of suspicion no valid objection to the action of those authorities can be taken, nevertheless it is greatly regretted that an unhappy combination of circumstances subjected these citizens of the United States to such painful suspicions and to the consequent sufferings at Zurich.

I have, etc.,

Geo. H. Pendleton.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 538.]

Mr. Pendleton to Count Bismarck.

F. O. No. 291.]

The undersigned, envoy, etc., of the United States of America, has the honor to lay before His Excellency Count Bismarck-Schönhausen, imperial secretary of state for foreign affairs, the following statement of facts as they are alleged to exist.

It is represented that on the 27th day of July, in the year 1886, three citizens of the United States, named, respectively, Charles Schwalb, A. C. Postel, and Julius Postel, were arrested at the railroad station in the city of Zurich, in Switzerland, about 10 o’clock in the morning, and were detained iu custody until 6 o’clock in the evening of the same day; that they were persons of good character and reputation, innocent of any crime, or complicity therein, or knowledge thereof, traveling for improvement and pleasure, and supplied with passports of the United States; that they had gone to the railroad station for the purpose of taking their departure from the city of Zurich, and were there arrested wholly without cause in the presence of a great number of people, [Page 580] and were detained as suspected felons. They were consequently prevented from continuing their journey for many hours, and, in addition to this great inconvenience, were subjected to suspicions mortifying to them, and injuriously affecting their reputation, as if they had been guilty of crime and were justly subject to arrest and imprisonment as criminals. After being kept in custody for the whole day they were discharged without any explanation from the police authorities of Zurich of the cause of their arrest and detention, except that they must look for redress, if any could be had, to the power which had demanded their arrest.

When application was made to the Federal Government of Switzerland for explanation of these grave offenses against the rights and liberty of these innocent and inoffensive citizens, that Government very distinctly answered that these three men had been arrested solely at the demand of the attorney-general of the Grand Duchy of Baden at Mannheim, describing them as suspicious characters, giving their names and minute description of their persons, and requiring their arrest and detention, which demand, under the extradition treaty between Germany and Switzerland, must be in the first place complied with by Switzerland; that immediately after the arrest notice thereof was sent by telegraph to the authorities of Baden, and at 5 o’clock in the afternoon an answer was received saying the extradition of these men would not be demanded, and thereupon they were released from custody.

The Federal Government of Switzerland expressed great regret that the very unpleasant incident had occurred and the wrong had been done, hut insisted that the authorities of the Grand Duchy of Baden were alone responsible for it, inasmuch as the police of Zurich acted in entire good faith, and wholly on the demand of the authorities of Baden in pursuance of the obligatory provisions of the treaty of extradition above named.

The undersigned is instructed by his Government to bring this statement to the notice of His Excellency Count Bismarck, and to request that he will kindly cause an investigation to be made, and advise the undersigned of the circumstances connected with this treatment, on the part of the authorities of Baden, of innocent and respectable citizens of the United States.

The undersigned avails, etc.

Geo. H. Pendleton.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 538.—Translation.]

Count Berchem to Mr. Pendleton.

The undersigned does himself the honor to inform the envoy extraordinary, and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, Mr. George H. Pendleton, that the case, mentioned in the note of the 31st of May last, of the three citizens of the United States who were arrested in Zurich at the request of the grand ducal authorities of Baden, has been made the subject of searching inquiry, whose result is to be found in the annexed report. As it appears from this report, the citizens of the United States in question, Karl Schwalb, A. C. Postel, and Julius Postel, were suspected of complicity in a theft at Heidelberg, and, in consequence of this suspicion, a prosecution was commenced against them, which led to their arrest in Zurich. Although the Grand Ducal Government has been able to find, on examination of the case, no ground on which the proceedings on the part of the grand ducal authorities, under the circumstances, can be objected to, nevertheless it regrets greatly that the said citizens of the United States have been involved in so painful a suspicion by reason of an unhappy concurrence of circumstances, and been exposed thereby to the inconveniences which they suffered in Zurich.

Whilst the undersigned unites in this expression of regret, he avails, etc.

[Inclosure 3 in No. 538.—Translation.]

Accompaniment to the foregoing inclosure.

On the 12th July, 1886, a pocket-book was stolen from a Mr. A. Bodenstein on his journey from Darmstadt to Herrenalb, which contained 650 marks, in four 100-mark and five 50-mark notes. The theft was committed, as was supposed, at the railroad station in Heidelberg, and therefore inquiries were made especially in Heidelberg, [Page 581] which were conducted by the grand ducal prosecuting attorneys of that city. Suspicion of the theft attached itself to three persons who lived in the hotel “Wiener Hof” at Heidelberg from the 17th to the 20th July, 1886, whose conduct appeared suspicious to the proprietor of the hotel, to his wife, and his servants. It appeared remarkable that the three guests arrived separately at the hotel, and departed from it separately, and bore themselves toward each other as if they stood in no connection with each other, although in fact they were traveling together. The observation of a waiter appeared particularly to give rise to suspicion, who noticed that they, in a moment when they were apparently unobserved, divided among themselves a number of bank-notes of exactly 100 marks each, and they hurriedly put away their pocket-books and separated as soon as they were aware that they were seen by the witness. The authorities of Heidelberg ascertained immediately afterwards that these said guests, Karl Schwalb, A. C. Postel, and Julius Postel, had left Heidelberg in the mean time and betaken themselves to Zurich. The grand ducal Baden prosecuting attorneys at Heidelberg requested the Zurich police to observe and eventually to arrest the parties concerned, having communicated the grounds of suspicion. In consequence the arrest took place on the 27th July of last year. Inasmuch as these grounds of suspicion were not further confirmed, an answer was sent on the same day to the inquiry by telegraph of the Zurich authorities, that the delivery of the prisoners was not demanded, only that before their discharge their personal description, the object of their journey, and their money, should be ascertained. This examination removed all suspicion from them, and the prosecution was thereupon discontinued.

The grand ducal authorities held themselves bound, after suspicion had been directed against these men, to investigate this suspicion in so searching a manner, as the city of Heidelberg at that time—July, 1886—on the occasion of the celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of the existence of the university, was frequented by a number of swindlers and pickpockets, whose appearance there made a sharp treatment and a close watch of all suspicions strangers necessary.