File No. 4825.

The Secretary of State to the Danish Minister.

No. 678.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of February 25 last, in which you mention certain inconveniences which sometimes arise in the settlement of estates in this country where the decedent or his heirs or representatives are Danish subjects, and inquire whether, in view of the considerable number of persons of Danish nationality in the United States, this Government would be disposed to negotiate a convention 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.”

The department does not understand whether it is proposed that there be granted to the consular representatives of Denmark in the United States the right of administration upon estates in this country, which would be equivalent to a grant of probate jurisdiction and the assumption by such representatives of extraterritorial rights for these purposes, or whether it is intended to confer upon these consular officers the right to take charge of or represent all Danish interests in the estate of a decedent, whether they be claims for or against such estate, and whether the decedent be a Danish subject or a person of other nationality.

[Page 305]

In either case, however, it should be said that a treaty would be objectionable. The United States has entered into no treaty with any foreign country granting either of the rights in question, and it considers it undesirable to establish a precedent in this regard.

Accept, sir, etc.,

Elihu Root.