File No. 12208.
The Mexican Chargé to the Secretary of State.
Washington, March 3, 1908.
Sir: By special direction of my Government, I have the honor to inform you that the department of foreign relations of Mexico wishes to obtain a decision of the department in your worthy charge, by which uniformity would be brought in both countries into the interpretation of Article X of the treaty for the extradition of criminals in force between Mexico and the United States, in that which relates to the period of 40 days, following the provisional arrest of the offender, and granted for the production of the documents on which the request of extradition is founded.
It appears that the rule followed in this country by the department in your worthy charge and the Department of Justice is to count the above-stated period of 40 days from the date of the arrest of the offender to the day of the presentation of the papers to the magistrate in charge of the case, and not to the Department of State.
The department of foreign relations of my Government does not concur in that interpretation of the article already cited, for the following reasons:
- First. Because the interpretation of the said department has been to the advantage of the Government of this country, that the presentation of the papers to the Mexican Government through the said department is sufficient to have it understood that the requirement has been met within the period even though, in the subsequent stages of the procedure, more or less time would elapse before the papers finally reach the authority that is to conduct the extradition proceedings; and as a matter of fact, the American Embassy quite frequently delivers its papers at the said department on the last, or few days before the last of the 40 days, in the extraditions it requests. This interpretation seems equitable in that, after presentation to the Department of State, any delay that may occur will not come from the Government making the request, but from the local authorities who may put off forwarding them, or even from mishap or difficult inland communications.
- Second. Because Article X of the treaty does not provide that the documents shall be delivered within 40 days to the commissioner or magistrate who is to conduct the extradition proceedings, but says [Page 595] that the Government on which the requisition is made “shall endeavor to procure the provisional arrest of such criminal and to keep him in safe custody for such time as may be practicable, not exceeding 40 days, to await the production of the documents,” whence it must be inferred that the Government on which the requisition is made must wait 40 days until the documents are presented to it, and that this requirement is fulfilled at the time when they are delivered to the Department of State, which represents the Government.
Wishing that you may, in view of the reasons above set forth, be pleased to formulate a decision that the above-discussed point in Article X of the treaty be uniformly interpreted in the indicated sense in both countries, I have pleasure in renewing to you, etc.