File No. 11960.

The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Dawson.

No. 22.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 46, of January 27 last, in which you state that a Swiss citizen who contemplates emigrating to Colombia had written to you that this Government would, upon application, afford protection to Swiss citizens in countries like Colombia, where Switzerland has no representatives, and that his Government had advised him to make such application directly to your legation.

In reply I have to say that the question is still governed by the department’s circulars of June 16, 1871 (F. R. 71, p. 28), December 15, 1871 (F. R. 72, p. 5), and June 28, 1877 (F. R. 77, p. 1). So far as the Swiss Government is concerned, not only did it in every case readily and thankfully accept the use of American good offices, but as early as 1864 made a proposition that the United States undertake the protection of its citizens by virtue of a treaty (F. R. 64, pp. 386394), and in 1887 asked, through its legation at Washington, that the protection be as full as that accorded to the United States citizens (F. R. 87, p. 1074).

From this position Secretary Bayard dissented in a note (F. R. 87, p. 1076), in which he defined the extent to which American representatives [Page 211] could act in behalf of Swiss citizens. The correspondence exchanged with the Swiss legation in connection with the latest case of protection sought by Swiss citizens is printed in full in the Foreign Relations for 1901, pages 504508, and is interesting in that it establishes the positions of both Governments and elicited from Minister Lardy—note of July 25, 1901—(F. R. 1901, p. 507) the broad statement that “the federal council leaves each one of its citizens who may settle in a country where the Confederation has no diplomatic or consular agent entirely free to place himself under the protection of such power as he sees fit,” and the reservation that “as the protection afforded by the United States of America is confined, when granted, to extending to them their unofficial good offices, while Germany and other powers make absolutely no distinction * * * it would be desirable that in each individual case Swiss citizens * * * be expressly warned of the fact that the protection of representatives of the United States is limited, and particularly that the latter are under no circumstances permitted to intervene officially in their behalf with the authorities of the country to which they are accredited.”

As for the third Government concerned, the rule and practice of the department have been, as prescribed in the circular of December 15, 1871, to seek and obtain the consent of that Government to the use of good offices in behalf of any Swiss citizen who might request them.

I am, etc.,

Robert Bacon.