File No. 21641/15.
Minister Garter to the Secretary of State.
Bucharest, April 9, 1910.
Sir: With reference to the department’s No. 30, Bulgarian series, of February 19 (File No. 21641/7), relating to the extradition of Vahan Nalbandian, the statement of the case in Mr. Harvey’s No. 9, Bulgarian series, of the 7th instant, is so full that I have little to add for the information of the department.
During Mr. Harvey’s absence at Sofia I arranged with the Austrian Legation here for the safe conduct of the United States agents with their prisoner across Austrian territory to Fiume, and with the foreign office at Bucharest for their transit by way of Roumania.
At the last moment, however, the minister for foreign affairs informed me that permission for the transit of the prisoner could not be granted. This refusal was based upon the grounds that having no extradition treaty with us, Roumanian law demanded the same process for the transit as if it were a question of a case of extradition and, besides, that the prisoner being extradited on the charge of murder, for which the penalty in the United States is death, the transit could not have been effected in any case unless our Government promised not to exact the death penalty.
That the law of the country did not permit it I could not question, but I did express my regret that I should not have been so informed either on the day I made the request or at least in sufficient time during the 10 days thereafter to enable me to change the arrangement.
However, by the great courtesy and prompt action of the officials of the Bulgarian, Servian, and Austrian Governments, the arrangements were speedily altered so that the agents with their prisoner were thereby enabled to reach Fiume the very morning of the day their ship sailed.
I may mention that at the request of the agents I sent Mr. Bancroft, the clerk of this legation, with them to help them on their way. His [Page 128] presence of mind at the Austrian frontier, owing to our late change of plans (the instructions to the police had not arrived), made it possible for the agents to proceed by the one train which got them to their destination in time.
I have, etc.,