Mr. Grant to Mr. Blaine.
Vienna, July 15, 1891. (Received July 31.)
Sir: With reference to my dispatch No. 155, of the 25th of May last, and to your reply of the 16th ultimo, No. 124, relative to the alleged assisted emigration to the United States by the authorities at Stauzach, Austrian Tyrol, of one Nikolaus Bader, belonging to the criminal or imbecile classes of Austria-Hungary, I have now the honor to transmit, for your information, a translation of a note dated the 9th instant from Count Welsersheimb, chief of section of the imperial and royal ministry of foreign affairs, communicating to me the result of the investigation which he had caused to be instituted in this case.[Page 18]
My first impulse was to forward to you the count’s note without comment, to the end that the Department might form its own impression as to the sufficiency of the answer of this Government to the complaint of the United States uninfluenced by any observations coming from me on the subject. Upon reflection, however, it has seemed to me not improper that I should give expression at once to my dissatisfaction with the explanation given in this case by the Imperial and Royal Government.
The complaint of the United States, founded on the affidavit of Nikolaus Bader, was that he, a murderer, subsequently found to be of unsound mind and confined in an insane asylum for a period of twenty-four years, was, upon his discharge somewhat over a year ago, sent at his request to the United States by the authorities at Stauzach, Austria. Such act, if proven, could scarcely be regarded in any other light than as distinctly unfriendly, and should meet with the prompt disavowal of the National Government, coupled with the assurance that the subordinate authorities directly responsible would be severely reprimanded. The investigation of the circumstances of the case instituted at the instance of this legation appears to have developed the fact that Bader committed the murder in question, but that it was shown at the trial, upon the testimony of medical men, that he was irresponsible, and that he was accordingly acquitted and afterwards confined in an insane asylum for twenty-four years. It would seem, therefore, that Bader’s own statements of his criminality and imbecility are substantially verified; and the only mitigating circumstances connected with his shipment to the United States are that he was finally discharged from the asylum as cured, and that upon his request he was assisted by his community to go to America, the “assistance” referred to consisting in the payment of the expenses of his journey. It is not doubted that the Department will be struck with the fact that reasonable precautions could not have been taken looking to the determination of Bader’s permanent restoration to sound mind, inasmuch as he was allowed, if not assisted, to attempt to take up his residence among a foreign but a friendly people in less than a year after his discharge from an insane asylum in which he had been confined for twenty-four years.
Moreover, the effort on the part of the authorities at Stauzach to evade responsibility for the assisted emigration of this imbecile criminal by the statement that Bader’s desire to go to America was assisted “by the community” impresses me as worthy of but little consideration. It is not my experience that “communities” are active to the extent of contributing money for such purposes unless they are incited by other motives than those of humanity, and it is usually some one in authority who is chiefly instrumental in bringing about such a result. Count Welsersheimb does not enter into details as to how the contributions were raised; he gives no explanation as to the reasons of the “community” for using its individual and private resources for such a purpose; he expresses no regret that the incident should have happened; he gives no assurance that measures will be taken to prevent a similar occurrence in the future; and, in short, I can not help entertaining the opinion that the Imperial and Royal Government has failed to accord to the subject the importance its gravity deserves.
Should the Department approve, I might address a dignified but decided note to the ministry of foreign affairs somewhat in the spirit of this dispatch. It may be, however, that you will consider that sufficient prominence has been given to the position of the United States with [Page 19] respect to this subject in the note which I wrote to Count Kalnoky on the 22d of May last, and that we may accept the statement now furnished by Count Welsersheimb as relieving this Government of opprobrium in the matter, inasmuch as the emigration of Bader appears to have been brought about by private rather than official influence.
I have, etc.,