File No. 4825.

The Danish Minister to the Secretary of State.


Mr. Secretary of State: The number of Danish immigrants in the United States is already quite considerable, and according to statistics the persons of Danish nationality who leave Denmark every year to come and settle in the United States average from five to eight thousand. Thus is there a constant increase of persons of Danish origin or kinship, with the result, among others, that the number of residents of Denmark who fall heirs to a person deceased in the United States is also large.

In most cases the estate is rather small and would not bear the costs of the services of a lawyer or some other professional attorney or of a protracted administration. The estate would at least be so [Page 304] much reduced by these expenses that its possession would be of scant value to the heir considering the sacrifices in time and exertion required to obtain it.

Experience further shows that delays and attending costs are often caused by the difficulty Danish heirs find in coming to an agreement with lawyers and other professional attorneys in America owing to the differences in the languages and systems of law and jurisprudence. Again, it sometimes happens that Danish subjects do not hear of the death of their relative in the United States until long after it has occurred, whereas earlier information would have enabled them to avoid delay and costs and to take measures regarding the disposal of the estate to their better advantage.

My Government believes this situation may to some extent be remedied by a convention with the United States by which the consuls, vice-consuls, or consular agents of Denmark in this country would be authorized to represent and protect the interests of Danish heirs and creditors, without a special power of attorney, in every case of deaths of Danish subjects in the United States as well as in the cases of Danish heirs to the estate of a person deceased in the United States.

I am therefore instructed to inquire of your excellency whether the Government of the United States would be disposed to enter upon the negotiation of such a convention, and if so, what scope the American Government would like the convention to have.

Be pleased, etc.,

C. Brun.