Mr. Tower to Mr.
Vienna, July 6, 1897.
(Received July 23.)
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.,
[Inclosure 1 in No. 6.]
Mr. Tripp to
United States Legation,
Vienna, December 29,
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.,
[Inclosure 2 in No.
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
The passport in question is herewith respectfully placed at the
disposal of the legation of the United States.
For the Minister.