File No. 311.654At8/11
The Counselor of the Italian Embassy ( Brambilla ) to the Secretary of State
My Dear Mr. Secretary of State: The Ambassador has instructed me to inform your excellency that, although he has not yet [Page 679] had the honour of receiving a reply to his note of the second instant, he supposes that the Department of State is by now fully acquainted with the decision of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals at Richmond, Va., of October the 6th, in the case of the Italian S. S. Attualità. He, therefore, directs me to submit to your excellency’s consideration the fact that, according to counsel of this Embassy, no form of redress against the decision of the above Court of Appeals seems now to be possible, except by a petition to the United States Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to be filed by the United States Attorney General upon request of His Majesty’s Embassy to the Department of State.
Whilst reiterating the formal protests of the Royal Government against the assumption of jurisdiction by United States courts over an Italian requisitioned ship, a proceeding so inconsistent with the rules of international courtesy which are universally observed when the sovereign rights of a foreign state are involved, the Ambassador now directs me to point out to your excellency the even greater inconsistency with those rights of the further procedure now fatally arising out of a situation of which the entire responsibility rests with the Government of the United States. The very shortness of the term of 10 days granted by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for a petition to the United States Supreme Court would suffice by itself to show how utterly impossible it is to apply procedures framed for private individuals to cases where the very essence of the right of sovereignty and the supreme power of dominion of a foreign state are involved, as it would be hardly reasonable to expect the necessarily slow moving and complicated machinery of a modern state, often separated by thousands of miles from its representatives abroad, to move with a celerity of which it is actually incapable.
Although all previous friendly representations made by this Embassy to the Department of State have remained, so far, unheeded, the Ambassador is confident that your excellency will realize the difficulty of the situation with which he is now confronted notwithstanding all the efforts made by this Embassy with a view of reaching an amicable settlement of this question. He trusts that your excellency will realize that it is utterly impossible for His Majesty’s Government to submit to any procedure inconsistent with the dignity of a sovereign state and that it would be hardly just to expect an ambassador to take any steps in questions of such vital importance without even having time to receive instructions from his Government.
I beg leave to remain [etc.]