Mr. Runyon to Mr. Gresham.

No. 178.]

Sir: I have the honor to report to the Department the case of August Junge and my action therein.

It appears that Mr. Junge left Germany under circumstances such as to constitute the offense of desertion, and went to the United States, where he became naturalized. After his naturalization he returned to Germany and was arrested and tried for and convicted of that offense. From the first information I received in the case, which proved to be imperfect, I deemed it proper to intervene in his behalf, and having been informed that the authorities intended to compel him to do military service, I, in my note to the foreign office (F. O. No. 154) dated October 30, 1894, of which a copy is herewith inclosed, made reference to the reported intention so to impress him, and, so far as seemed advisable under the circumstances (the fact not being established), used deprecatory language in regard to it, as will be seen by the note.

It appears that he was not impressed, but has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of eighteen months, upon which he has entered. There seems to be no question that he was a deserter when he went to the United States. According to his brother’s statement on the subject, made to this embassy in his behalf, Mr. Junge was born at Celle, in the province of Hanover, May 28, 1867, and in 1887 he was taken as a recruit for the military service. He was permitted to go on leave till November 2, 1887, with orders to report for duty at that time. He did not obey, but emigrated to America to avoid the service. That he was a deserter is not denied or disputed.

It has been so frequently and uniformly held that the treaty does not [Page 531]protect such deserters against trial and punishment on their return to Germany, although they have become naturalized as citizens of the United States, that I have not thought it advisable, though urged to do so, to intervene to claim immunity for him. It is, perhaps, quite unnecessary to make any reference to cases on this point; nevertheless I venture to cite Hans Jacobson’s case ( Foreign Relations, 1888, Vol. I, p. 586, Minister Pendleton, and p. 589, Secretary Bayard), in which, under similar circumstances, the action of the minister in declining to make application in the absence of instructions was approved.

I have, etc.,

Theodore Runyon
.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 178.]

Mr. Runyon to Baron Marschall.

The undersigned, ambassador, etc., of the United States of America, begs very respectfully to solicit the attention of His Excellency Baron Marschall von Bieberstein, imperial secretary of state for foreign affairs, to the case of August Junge, a naturalized American citizen of German birth. Junge was born at Celle, in Hanover, May 28, 1867, and emigrated in 1887 to the United States, where he became naturalized as an American citizen on the 11th day of September last, as shown by the certificate, which is herewith inclosed, with the request that it be ultimately returned. It appears that Junge left the United States on the 13th of September last and came to Hamburg on a visit; that after his arrival he was arrested and held in custody under sentence to pay a fine of 200 marks, which had been adjudged against him after his emigration for alleged desertion from military service. The undersigned is informed that the record of the sentence shows a condemnation merely to pay the fine mentioned.

After his arrest and while he was in custody, Junge’s brother, in order to obtain his discharge, offered to pay the fine and deposit the amount with the United States consul at Hamburg accordingly, and the consul made application for the discharge, offering to pay the money; but the application was denied on the ground, it is said, that Junge was to be held in custody for an investigation by the military authorities at Altona (to which place he is to be sent) into his alleged desertion, and he is so held accordingly.

It would appear from this statement that it is designed to try him a second time for the same alleged offense for which he has already been tried and sentenced. It is also given out that it is intended to compel him, notwithstanding his American citizenship, to enter into the German military service. Inasmuch as the undersigned can not think that such intention is entertained by the German military authorities to compel an American citizen to forced service in the German army, and as no evidence which the undersigned deems sufficiently trustworthy to warrant action on his part in that direction is before him, he refrains from troubling his excellency on that head.

The undersigned very respectfully asks that his excellency will cause the subject to be investigated, and if the facts are found to be as stated, will direct that the necessary steps be taken to release Mr. Junge from his imprisonment.

The undersigned avails, etc.,

Theodore Runyon
.
[Page 532]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 178—Translation.]

Baron Rotenhan to Mr. Runyon.

In response to the note of October 30 last (F. O., No. 154), the undersigned has the honor to state the following to his excellency the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States of America, Mr. Theodore Runyon, regarding the arrest of the American citizen, August Junge.

Junge, born at Celle on May 28, 1867, was accepted in 1887 at Harburg by the main recruiting commission (Ersatz Kommission), and was ordered to report on November 1 of the same year. He did not appear, however, at the date fixed for him to report, and the investigations which were instituted showed that he had left for America. In consequence thereof he was, on September 24, 1887, by sentence of military court, declared a deserter, and in contumaciam legally sentenced to pay a fine of 200 marks.

On October 27 last Junge was arrested at Hamburg by order of the military authorities, and was tried by a military court. At the trial Junge acknowledged that he emigrated to America for the purpose of permanently escaping the fulfillment of his lawful duty of military service. His desertion had actually taken place before his emigration—when he left Harburg in October, 1887—and as prosecution was not barred by limitation, article 2 of the treaty with the United States of America of February 22, 1868, is applied to him.

Junge knew, by the way, that he would be tried and punished for his desertion, as he, according to his own statement, did not on his return go to live with his mother, because he was afraid that he might be found there more easily.

While the undersigned returns the inclosure of the note referred to, he avails himself, etc.

Rotenhan.