File No. 294.11Ei5/45.

Ambassador Guthrie to the Secretary of State.

No. 373.]

Sir: Referring to the previous correspondence in relation to the extradition case against Mr. John Eills, formerly of Massachusetts but now living in Japan, on a charge of perjury brought by his wife, Mrs. Harriet A. Eills, I have the honor to report that in an action subsequently instituted in the Tokyo District Court by Mrs. Eills against Mr. Eills for the custody of their daughter, the court on the 20th instant gave judgment in her favor.

There is enclosed herewith a clipping from the Japan Advertiser containing a report of the trial and explaining the reasons which guided the court in its decision.

It would appear that the court refused to pass on the question of the relative fitness of the parents, basing its action on the order made by the Massachusetts court, when all parties were before it, awarding the custody of the child to Mrs. Eills, and establishing a personal status by the judicial action of a court having jurisdiction, which status the Japanese court was bound to respect.

The defendant has appealed against the judgment of the lower court, and the case is now before the Court of Appeals.

I have [etc.]

Geo. W. Guthrie.


The Japanese court reached its decision without going into the question of the respective fitness of the parents to act as the little girl’s guardian. The judges refused to consider this point of the case. They held that the decision of the courts of Massachusetts, from which Mrs. Eills has two decrees giving her the custody of her daughter, had created a legal status that ought to be recognized in Japan, just as the status of marriage performed abroad is recognized here. The decision was based largely on considerations of public policy, it being the attitude of the court that a judgment against Mrs. Eills would affect the validity of the law of Japan in similar cases in the United States.