File No. 4062/7–9.

Chargé Rives to the Secretary of State.

No. 181.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 78 of January 31, 1907, relative to the expulsion from Austria of Mr. Selig Fink, a naturalized citizen of the United States.

At the time Mr. Fink received his order of expulsion in July last, he requested this embassy to intervene in his behalf and I called at the foreign office where I had an interview of considerable length with Mr. de Mérey, at that time acting minister for foreign affairs, on the subject.

Since receiving your dispatch I have again called at the foreign office and inquired what their view was in regard to the case of Mr. Fink, and whether the Austro-Hungarian foreign office would adhere to its former refusal in the case, either to extend the period of the decree of expulsion or recall it altogether.

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I was received at the foreign office by Mr. de Mérey, at present the first chief of section (assistant secretary of state) who said that in the case of Mr. Fink, there was no use whatever in this embassy’s addressing a formal note to the Austro-Hungarian foreign office requesting that Mr. Fink’s decree of expulsion be extended until May, 1907. Mr. Fink had, according to the terms of his decree of expulsion (a copy of which is herewith inclosed), resided in Grybow, Galicia, since August 8, 1905, and as he had remained some three weeks in the country after the date set for his expulsion, the Austro-Hungarian foreign office could not interfere with, or reverse the decision of the local authorities.

Mr. de Mérey said all the European Governments reserved the right to expel any foreigner they deemed objectionable, and Mr. Fink could not be allowed to return to his former home, if his presence there was deemed undesirable by the local authorities, no matter what the pretext was.

In this case the Austro-Hungarian Government considered the public interests required the banishment of Mr. Selig Fink, as his actions were derogatory to the executive power of the country. Mr. Fink was merely making use of his American citizenship in Austria as a loophole to avoid military service; he had failed, while living in Austria to report for military examination and had emigrated to the United States without permission of the proper authorities.

For these reasons Mr. Fink’s decree of banishment could not be recalled, and his presence was additionally undesirable on account of his conduct.

I beg to quote part of a note received from the foreign office to show the standpoint taken by the Imperial and Royal Government in a similar case:

The opinion that the order of expulsion is a punishment not permitted by the treaty of 1871 can not be considered correct when viewed from the standpoint of Austrian law.

The order of expulsion is in no way to be regarded as a punishment placed * * * because he has not fulfilled his military obligations here in this country, and equally little has the expulsion in question any direct connection with the fact that he * * * acquired citizenship in the United States.

The order against him possesses no other significance than that of an administrative act, which springs from consideration for public order, and is based on the belief that the latter suffers when a person, by assuming foreign citizenship, avoids performance of those duties to his country which are placed upon him as upon all his fellow-citizens, and, then, when protected by new citizenship from the punishment otherwise resultant from this avoidance of duty, returns and settles permanently in the midst of his former countrymen, who find themselves in a condition not so favorable as his.

Such an act is not only a provocation of discontent in all those who fulfill their obligations to the State, but it acts as a bad example, and were such proceedings unchecked or of frequent occurence, would work positive harm to the defensive power of the State. According to the standpoint here indicated—which alone has been productive of the order of the expulsion of—the action of the imperial royal officials can only be regarded as an act of precaution which the common considerations of State demand for the paralyzing of the damaging influence of such occurrences and are in no wise to be connected with the obligations stipulated for the contracting parties in the treaty of 1870.

I beg to request the department’s instructions if any further action shall be taken by this embassy in the case.

I have, etc.,

George Barclay Rives.