File No. 863.711

The Ambassador in Austria-Hungary (Penfield) to the Secretary of State


281. Austro-Hungarian Government desires no unofficial correspondence to leave Monarchy without passing censor and request that no letters from private persons be transmitted through diplomatic or consular channels; otherwise difficulties might arise relative to inviolable character of former.

Consul General at Budapest telegraphs protesting against censors opening letters addressed by him to diplomatic and consular officers in other countries. Respectfully urge issuance of instructions to diplomatic and consular officers defining limitations in detail, particularly relation consulates with Embassy, correspondence between diplomatic and consular officers within and without country to which accredited, and the transmission of money and letters.

[Page 542]

Tendency now to attempt too much, frequently endangering our relations with authorities. Danger of breach of correct neutrality cannot be overaccentuated. Confident that receipt of such instructions would be welcomed by majority diplomatic and consular officers. Have impressed on those in Austria-Hungary that we are here primarily to further American interests and must avoid giving just grounds for complaint.