Minister Hill to the Secretary of State.

No. 143.]

Sir: Referring to your instruction No. 44, of October 1, 1906,a inclosing a certificate for Christopher (Christoffel in the certificate) S. Gorsira, and directing the legation to apply to the foreign office for his formal recognition, I have the honor to say that Mr. Boutell, as chargé d’affaires, on October 12 made this request as directed, and November 20 received a reply, of which copy and translation are inclosed.

From the reply of the foreign office, in which the certificate was returned to the legation without exequatur, it appears that, in view of the provision of Article VII of the convention of 1855, it was held by the Netherlands foreign office that a vice-consul in the colonies does not require an exequatur from the Netherlands Government, and I am requested to communicate this view to my Government. The note expressing this view does not explicitly cite the words of the convention, but it appears from the text of Article VII that “vice-consuls whose nominations shall be submitted to the approval of the governor of the colony, shall be provided with a certificate given to them by the consul under whose orders they exercise their functions.”

If this view is held to be correct by the Department of State, the proper course would seem to be to transmit the certificate to the consul under whose orders the vice-consul is to exercise his functions, who will name the vice-consul for approval to the governor of the colony and |>rovide the vice-consul with a certificate.

For the sake of clearness, it may be added that in recent correspondence between the legation and the department (see Mr. Bout-ell’s dispatch of September 15, 1906, and the department’s reply of [Page 1169] October 19) the question of the present force of the treaty of 1855 has been raised and settle’d affirmatively.

It would further appear from the action of the Netherlands Government in the case of Johann Schild (see department’s instruction of March 31, 1906,a and the legation’s dispatches of April 17a and September 15) that an exequatur as consular agent was sent directly by the Netherlands Government to the party concerned, which was a departure from previous and the usual practice. Although reference was then made to Article VII of the convention of 1855, it does not appear that that article applies to other officers than vice-consuls. It is to be noted, however, that Article III of the same convention provides for the issuing of exequaturs, the only officers named being “consuls-generals and consuls,” no mention being made of “consular agents.”

If the department takes the view that a “consular agent” falls under Article III and not under Article VII of the convention, the action of the Netherlands Government may be regarded as consistent and in conformity with the treaty.

If, on the other hand, a “consular agent” should be treated as a “vice-consul,” then the action of the Netherlands Government in the case of Johann Schild is not consistent with its action in the case of Christoffel S. Gorsira.

In compliance with the wishes of the foreign office I return herewith the certificate of Christoffel S. Gorsira, and await the further instruction of the department.

I have the honor, etc.,

David J. Hill.
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