Minister Beaupré to the Secretary of State.
The Hague, April 16, 1910.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the department’s unnumbered instruction1 of the 31st ultimo, transmitting, to be certified and forwarded to the minister for foreign affairs of Luxemburg, the documents to be used upon the application for the extradition from the Grand Duchy of Nicholas Knepper, or Knuepper, charged with the crime of burglary in the State of Illinois and a fugitive from the justice thereof.
Immediately upon the receipt of this dispatch and its inclosures on the 11th instant I made formal application for the extradition of the fugitive in question in the note of which I inclose copy, certifying the documents, to be used upon this application, in the form of which a copy is likewise inclosed. At the same time I cabled you asking whether permission had been obtained for the transit of Belgium by the agent commissioned to receive the fugitive and his prisoner, in accordance with Article IV of the Belgian law of 1874, reported to [Page 84] the department in Mr. Jones’s No. 229, of March 15, 1874. This article provides that—
extradition by way of transit across Belgian territory may, nevertheless, be granted * * * on the simple production of the original or of an authenticated copy of one of the instruments of procedure mentioned in the foregoing article, when it shall have been requested for a State with which Belgium has a treaty comprising the offense which gives rise to the demand for extradition, etc.
These instruments of procedure are enumerated in Article III of the same law as—
the sentence or writ of condemnation, or the order of the council chamber, or the order of the chamber of indictments, or of the order of criminal procedure issued by a competent judge, formally decreeing the transfer of the accused to repressive jurisdiction. It is not clear to me what may be the meaning of the phrase “formally decreeing the transfer of the accused to repressive jurisdiction.” In Moore on extradition, however, it is stated (No. 460) that “transit across Belgian territory is conceded under the following conditions: (1) That the person is not a Belgian; (2) that prescription has not run; (3) that the offense is not of a political character; (4) that the Government requesting the transit shall produce a document which would afford a basis for an ordinary extradition.”
On the receipt of the department’s reply to my cable, and in compliance with the department’s instruction, I addressed our legation at Brussels in the note of which I inclose a copy, quoting a paraphrase of my cable to the department of the 11th instant and of the department’s reply of the following date, and requesting to be informed what may actually be necessary to secure permission for the transit of Belgium by Richard Barry and his prisoner. Mr. Bryan has replied in two letters, of which I send copies, and a telegram, which I quoted in my cable of this noon to the department. From these it appears that the requirements for securing permission to transport the expedited fugitive across Belgian territory are the production of such documents as would be necessary to secure the extradition from Belgium of the fugitive, authenticated in the same way as for use upon application for extradition from that country, and, further, that the fugitive could not be conducted through Belgian territory by a foreign custodian. Mr. Bryan adds that a friendly suggestion was made that in view of treaty arrangements with Germany it might facilitate the matter to have the prisoner transported to a port of that Empire instead of crossing Belgian territory. I am unaware to what treaty arrangements this refers. In the memorandum of June, 1889, No. 9, it is said that—
the transit of a criminal surrendered by a third State is granted by the Government of His Majesty the Emperor or by that of another State of the Union under the same conditions as extradition. What the German attitude with respect to England and the United States of America would be in such cases, and whether, in particular, proofs of the guilt of the fugitive would be necessary, has not yet been considered. Germany would, it is presumed, upon an assurance from England or America that, a case occurring, transit would not be made dependent upon the submission of such proofs, have no objection to permit the transit of a criminal to England or the United States in the same manner, without submission of proofs of guilt, upon the production only of a warrant issued by the English or American judge. Transit through German territory takes place regularly with the accompaniment of a German officer.
In view of this expression of the attitude of the Imperial Government toward the transit of fugitives through German territory, which is the sole finding in the matter of which the legation is aware, I have this day cabled the department, quoting Mr. Bryan’s telegram in [Page 85] which the suggestion is made that the fugitive Knepper be transferred through Germany, and requesting that the department obtain, through our embassy at Berlin, the necessary authorization for the transit.
It is evident that it will not be possible to secure the return of the fugitive from Luxemburg without the transit of one of the three countries which border upon the Grand Duchy. I have not, however, considered the possibility of transportation through France, since it is impracticable to enter France from the city of Luxemburg by rail without crossing either Belgian or German territory.
In this connection also I have to acknowledge the receipt of the warrant of the President, issued to Richard Barry, empowering him to take the fugitive Knepper into his custody and to return him to the United States for trial. The warrant will be delivered to Mr. Barry on his arrival.
I am, etc.,
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