The Secretary of State to the Japanese Minister.


The Secretary of State has considered the questions in regard to the treaties of Sweden and Norway and the diplomatic and consular relations of those countries with other powers propounded in the memorandum left with him by the Japanese minister on the 9th instant.

The first and second points therein brought up remain for future adjustment. The views of this government as to their treatment may be thus stated. The queries are:

(1) Are the treaties hitherto concluded and existing between the United Kingdom of Sweden and Norway and other powers to be considered to have ceased to be valid at this juncture so far as regards Norway, and has Norway temporarily to lose its treaty relations with such other powers?

(2) Are such treaties as referred to above to be considered valid so far as regards Sweden?

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The treaty of 1816 (which was terminated in 1826) and that of 1827, still extant, were concluded by the United States with the sovereign of Sweden and Norway acting on behalf of each country. Sweden and Norway are not therein described as a United Kingdom, but the obligations contracted and privileges granted by their common King are separately specified in each instance as to the territories, shipping, and commerce of each country. This government would regard the treaty provisions in regard to Norway and to Sweden as severally binding upon each country and unaffected by the dynastic change in Norway. In point of fact the Government of Norway and the Government of Sweden have hitherto acted independently in execution of their treaty engagements, each within its sovereign jurisdiction. In the matter of extradition the United States has concluded separate treaties with the Governments of Norway and of Sweden.

(3) Are the diplomatic agents and consular officers hitherto accredited by the United Kingdom of Sweden and Norway to the other powers to be hereafter recognized as the diplomatic agents and consular officers of Sweden?

This government has been notified by the Government of Norway that the functions of the diplomatic representatives of Sweden and Norway have ceased, ipso facto, so far as Norway is concerned, and that representatives of Norway will be appointed. It is understood that the Swedish Government regards its diplomatic agents as the representative of the sovereign, and that with the termination of the King’s sovereignty over Norway his ministers cease to represent Norway; but that their representation of Sweden is unaffected thereby and that no new credentials are needed. It is presumed that each country holds the same position with regard to its consular representatives.

(4) Are the diplomatic agents and consular officers hitherto accredited by foreign powers to the United Kingdom of Sweden and Norway to be recognized hereafter as the diplomatic agents and consular officers of Sweden alone? If so, is it not required at this juncture to renew the credentials presented to the King of Sweden and Norway by the diplomatic agents of foreign powers or to take any such course in order to continue the terms of office of these diplomatic agents and consular officers as are accredited to Sweden alone?

The United States will, upon provision therefor by the Congress, accredit a diplomatic representative to Norway.

As under our constitutional system the President is not a sovereign, but the mandatory of the sovereign powers of the States of the Union, the relations of the United States with foreign countries are as between government and government, rather than as between sovereign and sovereign. Consequently the United States will in due time accredit its diplomatic representative to Sweden alone; but in the meanwhile it is disposed to regard its present minister as dually accredited to the two Kingdoms, and therefore competent to transact affairs with the Government of Norway. As the consuls of the United States in Sweden and Norway act under exequaturs, defining their territorial jurisdiction it is not thought necessary to seek a new exequatur for a consul who already has a Norwegian exequatur. A consul who has a Swedish exequatur is of course unaffected by the change.