Mr. Adee to Mr. Harris.
Washington , September 11, 1899 .
Sir: I inclose for your information copies of dispatches numbered 46,1 of May 25 last, and 52,1 of the 21st ultimo, from the United States consul at Prague, reporting the cases of certain naturalized American citizens who were arrested by the Austrian authorities for the nonperformance of military service.
You are instructed to bring Mr. Donzelmann’s statements to the attention of the Austro-Hungarian foreign office, with the request that they be fully investigated, and, if found to be correct, that prompt instructions be issued by the Austrian Government to the local authorities to pay respect to a United States passport, and that in case of the arrest of an American citizen bearing such a document he be instantly permitted to communicate with the consul.
It is not the wish of this Government to interfere with the execution of the military laws of Austria, should any of the persons arrested be legally amenable thereto, but it desires to protest, respectfully, against the refusal of the local authorities to permit them to communicate with the United States consular officer having jurisdiction.
The question is not new, as will appear by reference to the following cases, viz: Mr. Gresham to Mr. Grant, No. 299, May 8, 1893; Mr. Gresham to Mr. Tripp, No. 29, September 4, 1893; Mr. Tripp to Mr. Olney, No. 151, July 26, 1895; Mr. Tripp to Mr. Olney, No. 183, March 25, 1896.
Mr. Tripp’s note to Count Goluchowski, of May 23, 1895 (Foreign Relations, 1895, p. 14), fully and clearly sets forth the position of this Government in the matter. The acquiescence of the Austro-Hungarian Government in our contentions at the time and the orders given to the local military authorities to respect American passports were believed to have removed all cause of complaint in this regard, and the Department is confident that the present recurrence of the question is not due to any change of the policy on the part of the Austro-Hungarian Government, but is merely due to oversight or misinformation on the part of the local officers, which the Imperial Royal Government will promptly take measures to correct.
I am, etc.,