File No. 211.32/3.
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador of Brazil.
Washington, February 28, 1913.
Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 23rd of January, in which you state that your Government has enacted the law of June 28, 1911, which carries out its policy in regard to extradition better than existing treaties do and which involves the abrogation of all the extradition treaties to which Brazil is a party. You state that the Brazilian Government would appreciate it if the United States would waive the clause of its extradition treaty with Brazil which provides that the treaty shall continue in force until six months after one of the contracting parties shall have notified the other of its intention to terminate it, and would consider the treaty to have ceased to exist for all intents and purposes from the date of its receipt of your note.
In reply I regret to inform you that this Government has no power to waive the treaty requirement that six months’ notice of an intention to terminate its extradition treaty with Brazil be given; and I beg to inquire whether your Government has not overlooked the fact that, if the treaty should be abrogated, the United States could not surrender a fugitive from Brazil upon the request of the Government of that country. As the United States is not able to grant extradition in the absence of a treaty, it is its practice not to request the surrender of a fugitive by a foreign government with which it has no extradition treaty.
The Ambassador of the United States at Rio de Janeiro has already had the honor to point out to your Government that a serious obstacle to the conclusion of a satisfactory extradition treaty between the two Governments exists in the provision of the Brazilian law mentioned above to the effect that, if the offense for which extradition is sought is punishable by death or corporal punishment, extradition shall be granted only on condition that the penalty be commuted to imprisonment. Other difficulties in framing an extradition treaty would be caused by the fact that the law contains no list of extraditable offenses, and by its provision that no request for extradition will be granted without a previous decision by the Supreme Federal Tribunal of Brazil as to its legality and propriety.
I avail [etc.]