Mr. Tower to Mr. Sherman.

No. 6.]

Sir: Referring to the dispatch No. 274, addressed under date of the 16th of December, 1896, by the Hon. Richard Olney, Secretary of State, to my predecessor, the Hon. Bartlett Tripp, upon the subject of a complaint made at the State Department by Mr. Leopold Rieder, of Newark, N. J., in regard to the seizure of his passport by the local authorities during a visit which he made to Galicia, his native country, in the summer of 1896, I have the honor to inclose to you herewith copies of the correspondence which has taken place between the minister of the United States and the Imperial and Royal ministry of foreign affairs.

Upon receipt of the dispatch from the Secretary of State, Mr. Tripp addressed a note to Count Goluchowsky, Imperial and Royal minister of foreign affairs, dated the 29th day of December, 1896, a copy of which is inclosed herewith, calling his attention to the complaint of Mr. Rieder, and requesting him to cause investigation to be made as to the facts of the case, and if no sufficient cause were found for the detention of the passport in question, to have such instructions given to the local officials of Galicia as should prevent the recurrence of such conduct in the future.

I have received from the Imperial and Royal foreign office a reply to this communication, dated the 22d of June, 1897, a translation of which is also inclosed herewith.

It appears therefrom that the attention of the local authorities was attracted to Mr. Rieder during his stay in Galicia, as they would naturally [Page 6]be to a returned emigrant, and that by reason of a request made at that time by his sister for a permit to go to America he was suspected of carrying on an illicit emigration agency. It is more than likely that the police sought also to test his liability to perform military service. He was summoned to appear before the magistrate and give an account of himself. To this summons he paid no attention, however, but gave up his American passport, saying that that would explain the situation. Thereupon an official inquiry was begun, which was delayed by the transfer of the proceedings from the court of origin to another, established in the meantime, which had jurisdiction of the case. The decision having been reached by the magistrate, after due examination, that no cause of action lay against Mr. Rieder, his passport was ordered to be given back to him. But before that time Mr. Rieder had left Galicia upon his return to America, and could not be found. The passport, which is numbered 12722, and was issued to Leopold Rieder by the Hon. Richard Olney on the 3d day of June, 1896, has been returned to this legation, and is now inclosed to you herewith. It seems probable that if Mr. Rieder had consented to appear and make a statement to the magistrate when he was summoned he would have saved himself much annoyance, and would have had his passport given back to him without delay.

I have, etc.,

Charlemagne Tower.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 6.]

Mr. Tripp to Count Goluchowsky.

Your Excellency: By direction of the State Department at Washington I am instructed to call your excellency’s attention to the case of Leopold Rieder of Newark, N. J., a naturalized citizen of the United States, who complains and says that in the month of August, 1896, he visited Galicia, his native country, for a temporary stay, and that on the next day after his arrival at the city of Rzeszow, in Galicia, he was visited by the mayor of the city, or his clerk, and asked for his passport; that the same was thereupon taken from him and has not been since returned to him; that after remaining at his former home for six weeks, and having made frequent demands for his passport, he was obliged to return to the United States without the same.

I am requested to ask your excellency to cause investigation to be made as to the facts of this case, and if they be found as represented, and no sufficient cause exists for the detention of such passport, it is to be hoped such instructions will be given to the local officials of Galicia as will prevent recurrence of such conduct in the future.

With renewed assurances, etc.,

Bartlett Tripp.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 6—Translation.]

Count Welsersheimb to Mr. Tripp.

In reply to the esteemed note of December 29, 1896, numbered 166, relating to the complaint made by Leopold Rieder against the confiscation by the Imperial and Royal authorities of his passport, the ministry [Page 7]of foreign affairs begs to inform the United States’ legation of the results of the investigation made in the premises.

Upon a request made by Machle Rieder, of Lutzka, the sister of the plaintiff, Leopold Rieder, for a passport to go to America, suspicion was aroused that Leopold Rieder, who was then in Lutzka, was carrying on an illegal emigration agency. The district captain at Rzeszow therefore directed the chief of community at Lutzka, Johann Norvakowsky, to investigate this matter thoroughly. The latter, after having conferred with some of the older inhabitants of the place, reported that Rieder had left Rzeszow when he was a child, emigrated to America, is not inscribed on any of the record books of the place, has not rendered any military service, and that his age can not be stated accurately. Thereupon the chief of community summoned Mr. Rieder to appear before the district captain at Rzeszow. Rieder, however, did not appear in compliance with this summons, but handed his passport voluntarily to the judge, with the remark that the district captain at Rzeszow would be able with this document to bring the matter to a termination.

On the strength of this remark the chief of community at Lutzka transferred the case, with the documents of Rieder, to the district captain in Rzeszow on the 21st day of October, 1896, and they were afterwards sent to Stryzow, where, in the meantime, a district captaincy had been established.

There being no cause for further action in the matter—and since the provisions of the treaty of September 20, 1870, between the United States and Austria-Hungary, exempted Rieder from punishment—the district captain at Stryzow, under date of January 15, 1897, ordered that the passport should be given back to Mr. Rieder, which order, however, could not be carried out, because Rieder had left for America in the fall of 1896, without having asked for the return of his passport.

The passport in question is herewith respectfully placed at the disposal of the legation of the United States.

Welsersheimb,
For the Minister.