The Italian Chargé to the Secretary of State .
Washington , May 19, 1906.
Mr. Secretary of State: By its note No. 409, of June 30, 1893, this royal embassy called the attention of the Federal Government to the nonobservance, on the part of the competent American authorities, of article 16 of the consular convention between Italy and the United States, which requires the local authorities to give prompt notice of the deaths and opening of the succession to the consuls and consular agents of the country to which the decedent belongs. The Department of State then courteously answered that everything possible would be done to remedy the situation complained of. The royal consuls in the United States have nevertheless successively complained on several occasions of the inexecution of the provisions of article 16 of the above-mentioned convention.
Count Naselli, late royal consul at Philadelphia, recently addressed the governors of the States embraced in his consular district on the subject and received the following answer:
Mr. Bromley Wharton, secretary to the governor of the State of Pennsylvania, wrote: “So far as I am at present informed, the governor of the Commonwealth has received no notification from the Government of the United States as to the terms of any consular convention between Italy and the United States which require the intervention of the Commonwealth. If you were to make your request to the proper authorities of the United States they would probably give such notification.”
Mr. A. J. Montague, governor of the State of Virginia, answered: “I desire to express my regret at the absence of legal authorities empowering me to give the notice essential to effect the stipulation expressed in the convention between the United States and the Kingdom of Italy.”
Mr. C. W. May, attorney-general of the State of West Virginia, answered: “The treaty-making power is, by the Constitution of the United States, vested in the Federal Government, and article 16 of the consular convention, referred to by you, in which it is stated that the ‘competent local authorities shall give notice, etc.,’ evidently refers to the local federal authorities over which the state government would have no control. I beg, therefore, to refer you to the authority which entered into the consular convention for carrying out the provisions of the same.”
Count Naselli, having further asked of the coroner of Harrisburg, Pa., on the 2d of April last, a notice of the death of an Italian of the name of Liborio Luciani, which notice the said coroner ought to have furnished of his own motion, under the aforesaid article 16, was told in answer that he would have to pay the sum of $2 for such a notice.[Page 965]
I therefore venture to draw your excellency’s attention to this fact and to the injury thereby caused to the heirs of Italian citizens dying in this country, and to observe at the same time that the authorities of the Kingdom have invariably complied and will regularly comply, for their part, with the obligations placed upon them by the said article 16 of the convention repeatedly referred to. I have, in consequence, the honor to bespeak of the Federal Government such measures and provisions as will seem to its high judgment most expedient to cause the local competent authorities to carry out the provisions ordained by the said article, the enforcement of which is a particular subject of solicitude for the Government of the King.
Tendering in advance to your excellency my best thanks for whatever you may be pleased to do in regard to the request here presented, I gladly avail, etc.,