Mr. Jackson to Mr. Olney.

No. 322.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, early in the morning of Friday, the 26th ultimo, of the Department’s telegraphic instruction of the 25th.

I at once communicated by telegraph with Mr. Stern at Kissingen, asking him to let the embassy “know details of trouble” and to “suggest how embassy might assist,” and on the same day, after receiving his reply, a copy of which will be found included in his letter to me of [Page 455] the 27th ultimo (inclosure 1), I telegraphed to the United States commercial agent at Bamberg, whose name is also Louis Stern, asking him to inform me of the details of the case, and asking what, he had done and what he proposed doing. Through an error, the first of his answering telegrams (inclosure 2, A) did not reach me until Sunday morning while the second (inclosure 2, B) came at the proper time. After both these telegrams had been received, on Sunday, July 28, I cabled the Department.1

At the same time I sent the letter to the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg, a copy of which is inclosed (No. 3).

On Monday morning, the 29th, I received from Dr. Loewenfeld (Mr. Stern’s lawyer at Munich) a letter transmitting a copy of the petition, referred to above (inclosure No. 4, with translation), and its accompaniments consisting of a report on the case, 99 pages long; a letter of apology addressed by Mr. Louis Stern to Baron von Thuengen on July 19, a week after the incident at the Casino; circular letter to diplomatic and consular officers, dated State Department, February 23, 1894; certain depositions and letters as to Mr. Stern’s reputation and also showing that it had been his intention to leave Kissingen about July 16, etc.; all these documents being in the German language.

After looking through these papers I telegraphed to the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg and authorized him to send a copy of them to the Bavarian ministry at once, and at the same time I notified Consul-General Mason, at Frankfurt, that I had done so. The same afternoon I called at the Bavarian legation in this city, and after an interview with the minister, Count Lerchenfeld, in which I showed him the documents sent me by Mr. Stern’s lawyer, and mentioned the damage which would be done to the reputation of Kissingen as a place of resort should it become understood that Americans coming before the courts would be treated with such severity, and in which I asked him to inform his Government that this embassy supported the petition which had been sent in from Bamberg, I wrote the letter to Mr. Stern, at Kissingen, a copy of which is also inclosed (inclosure No. 5).

Late on Tuesday evening I received another telegram from Mr. Stern, Kissingen, which, after a second interview at the Bavarian legation, I answered by letter yesterday afternoon, July 31 (inclosures Nos. 6 and 7).

As I told Mr. Stern in my last letter to him, I have not felt at liberty to assume that the Bavarian courts would treat his case in a manner otherwise than that prescribed by law. As far as I have been able to ascertain, everything which has been done so far has been legally correct, although it appears that the law has been applied with more than usual severity. I have purposely refrained from any discussion of the merits of the case, either with Mr. Stern or at the Bavarian legation, as, on account of the independent position of the courts, a discussion of points, a decision upon which rested solely with the court, would not only be purposeless, but, in my opinion, improper. There are, of course, at least two stories about the incident itself, as well as to what happened before and after it, and even with regard to the circumstances connected with the giving of bail there is a dispute. It is admitted, however, that when, on the evening of July 11, Baron von Thuengen told Mr. Stern’s son that he must not dance at the ball on account of his not being 15 years of age, and when Baron Thuengen expressed doubt as to the truth of Mrs. Stern’s statement that the boy was more than 15, Mr. Stern [Page 456] did use threatening language, and upon the strength of this he is charged with a breach of the peace and with interfering with an officer in the performance of his duty; and as the boy was introduced into the Casino upon a ticket for a child under 15 years of age, on account of the subsequent statement that he was more than 15 a further charge of fraud has been made.

It did, however, seem proper to remark upon the unusually large amount of bail which was accepted, and upon the severity shown in requiring Mr. Stern to remain in Kissingen, at or near his hotel, after this large sum (80,000 marks, about $20,000) had been deposited. I felt at liberty also to request that the Bavarian Government use its influence toward having the matter settled at the earliest possible date.

I shall at once report any further developments, and would be much gratified to learn that my action in the matter has met with the approval of the Department.

I have, etc.,

John B. Jackson
[Inclosure 1 in No. 322.]

Mr. Stern to Mr. Jackson.

My Dear Sir: I answered your telegram of yesterday as follows:

Many thanks for telegram. Consul Stern, from Bamberg, was here to investigate, and intends to protest in Munich to-morrow or Monday. Kindly put yourself in communication with him, as he is thoroughly familiar with the affair. My lawyer in Munich, Rechtsanwalt Loewenfeld, will forward you to-morrow a full statement of the case.

I hope you will be in possession of the papers from Munich before this reaches you. It affords me much pleasure to add that both Messrs. Carpenter and Stern, respectively, consuls at Fürth and Bamberg, and particularly the latter, were indefatigable in their attention and advice.

Permit me again to thank you for your prompt attention to my case, and believe me.

Yours, very truly,

Louis Stern,
Of Messrs. Stern Brothers, New York.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 322.—Telegrams.]

Mr. Stern (U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg) to Mr. Jackson.

A. (received at embassy July 28).

Deutsche Botschaft, Berlin:

By order of Consul-General Mason I went to Kissingen; investigated Stern case. Stern, prominent business man, and his wife were offended by assistant “bade commissar” von Thuengen at public ball and Stern offered to slap Thuengen’s face. Did not know Thuengen’s official capacity. Stern was arrested; gave 80,000 marks bail, but is not allowed to leave Kissingen or even take a ride. Americans at Kissingen, headed by W. W. Astor and other prominent men, will send protest, a copy of which is sent to embassy to-day, to Bavarian minister of justice. Protest gives true history of case. Public sentiment seems [Page 457] to be entirely on Stern’s side. It is a ease of cruel prosecution. Will embassy allow me to lodge protest with Bavarian secretary of state! Please wire. According to Stern’s desire, I did not notify embassy till that protest was ready.

Louis Stern,
U. S. Commercial Agent at Bamberg.

B. (received July 27).

American Embassy, Berlin:

I forgot to wire that I only was informed of the case ten days after it happened. Since then I worked day and night to assist Stern, who first did not want to make the case public.

Louis Stern,
U. S. Commercial Agent at Bamberg.

C. (received July 29).

American Embassy, Berlin:

Document sent by Stern’s lawyer explains everything, and was drawn with my assistance. Protest of Americans has been filed. Stern wants me to file history of the case with Bavarian secretary of state. Please instruct me if I can do it officially.

Louis Stern,
U. S. Commercial Agent at Bamberg
[Inclosure 3 in No. 322.]

Mr. Jackson to the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg.

M. No. 7321.]

Sir: Yesterday morning I received the second telegram you sent me in the matter of Mr. Louis Stern’s trouble at Kissingen. The first one was addressed to the “Deutsche Botschaft,” and has only just been received from the Imperial foreign office. Before advising or instructing you in the matter I shall await the receipt of the copy of the petition which is now, I understand, on its way to the embassy. My impression now is that it would be quite proper for you, under the circumstances, to transmit the petition to the Bavarian minister of state, but that you should not officially indorse it.

It has always been the rule here, in the absence of special instructions, not to put the United States Government in the position of asking a favor (or what might be considered one) where the refusal to grant such favor might cause embarrassment.

I shall telegraph you to-morrow on the receipt of your letter.

I am, etc.,

John B. Jackson,
Chargé d’Affaires
[Inclosure 4 in. No. 322—Translation.]


To the Royal Ministry of State for the Royal Household and for Foreign Affairs:

Relating to the petition of the undersigned for legal protection in the case of an American citizen confined at Kissingen:

The undersigned American citizens and those connected with German-American [Page 458] interests take the liberty of most respectfully requesting the protection of the Royal Government, in the affair mentioned in the inclosures, for Mr. Louis Stern, of New York, a highly esteemed American citizen, who, according to their conviction, is unjustly and unlawfully deprived of his liberty at Kissingen. They do this not only because the conviction is of great personal value to them and to all others sojourning in Kissingen that they are in a position of disinterested unimpeachable legal security, but also because they consider that Mr. Louis Stern is in every way worthy of the protection requested.

Baths of Kissingen, July 24, 1895.


[Inclosure 5 in No. 322.]

Mr. Jackson to Mr. Stern.

M. No. 7326.]

Sir: Your letter of the 27th instant was received this morning, and about noon I received Dr. Loewenfeld’s full report of the case. Until then I was unable to take any action; my instructions, received Friday morning from the State Department, were to ascertain the facts and to do all I properly could, but before Dr. Loewenfeld’s letter was received there was nothing upon which I could base any action.

Just here let me say that no information regarding your case was given by me or anyone connected with this embassy to the newspapers until after the story had appeared in the Frankfort on the Main papers.

As soon as I received my instructions from Washington I telegraphed you, and on the receipt of your first telegram I communicated with the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg, but his reply, owing to its having through some error been addressed to the “Deutsche Botschaft,” did not reach me until Sunday (yesterday) morning.

As soon as I had an opportunity of looking through the inclosures of Dr. Loewenfeld’s letter, I telegraphed an authorization to the U. S. commercial agent at Bamberg to send a copy of the petition to the Bavarian ministry at once. This afternoon I have had an interview with the Bavarian minister, Count Lerchenfeld, here and he has telegraphed to his Government that the embassy supports the petition sent in from Bamberg.

Count Lerchenfeld at the same time pointed out to me that in so far as the proceedings against you have been legally taken, the Bavarian Government would not be able to interfere with the judicial authorities, though it might have a certain influence over them.

Please let me hear from you if anything new happens, or if you have any suggestions to make.

I am, etc.,

John B. Jackson,
Chargé d’Affaires
[Inclosure 6 in No. 322.—Telegram received July 30, 1895.]

Mr. Stern to Mr. Jackson.

Have your letter. Aside from the merits of the case, I am detained here after giving 80,000 marks bail, and as yet have not been heard before any court.

Louis Stern
[Page 459]
[Inclosure 7 in No. 322.]

Mr. Jackson to Mr. Stern.

M. No. 7336.]

Sir: Your telegram was received late last night. As you already know, the Bavarian Government has been informed that this embassy supports the petition which has been submitted in your behalf. According to section 120 of the German law of February 1, 1877, an accused person may be arrested, although bail has been given for him, if he makes preparations for flight—that is, for removing himself from the jurisdiction of the court. Under my instructions, I do not feel at liberty to act on an assumption that the Bavarian courts will treat your case in a manner otherwise than that prescribed by law. I can, therefore, only urge that the law may not be applied in its extreme severity, and this I did in my interview with Count Lerchenfeld on Monday.

To-day I have again called at the Bavarian legation and, no reply having as yet been received from Munich, I asked that the Bavarian Government be requested, if it could not direct the court at Kissingen, on account of its independent position, to allow you liberty to travel with your family, etc., to use its influence toward having the matter settled at the earliest possible date.

If you can suggest anything else which you would like me to do I shall gladly consider it.

Your obedient servant,

John B. Jackson,
Chargé d’Affaires
  1. See ante, p. 454.