The communication in question was written in response to an expressed
desire on my part, that Dr. Ayala be good enough to explain the exact
meaning of the translation in Spanish of Article II paragraph 19, and in
order to make the two texts coincide, I respectfully suggest that the
Department observe the notations of Dr. Ayala and instruct me with
reference to such disposition as it may care to make in the
I have the further honor to transmit herewith enclosed a Spanish text of
the Treaty of Extradition between Paraguay and Spain9 as referred to in the
translation submitted of Dr. Ayala’s letter.
Ayala to the Chargé in Paraguay (Dickson)
My Dear Mr. Dickson:
. . . . . . . . .
In the case of Article II No. 19 of the Treaty it has not been
possible to make the two texts coincide. Perjury is not punishable
according to the Paraguayan Code and its inclusion for Paraguay
would be absolutely worthless. An offence greatly resembling perjury
was substituted; namely, false testimony, but this brings up another
question; a case of extradition for perjury could not be attended to
by the Paraguayan Courts because the Spanish text does not mention
perjury, but instead, false testimony, and the Courts have to apply
exclusively the National text.
The offence of perjury is more comprehensive than that of false
testimony. The former includes any false declaration made before the
authority under oath and false testimony is a false declaration
before justice. According to the Paraguayan Code false testimony is
classified as a crime against the administration of justice.
In order to make the two texts coincide, it would be necessary to
change the English text, changing the word “perjury” for an
expression equivalent to “false testimony”.
The Paraguayan Government has observed these objections or
difficulties, which are difficult to overcome, especially in
bilingual treaties, and in order to make them clear, has been
thinking of changing the structure of the treaties, by omitting the
enumeration of offences which is the cause of the difficulties.
In accordance with this criterion, the undersigned signed with the
Ambassador of Spain the Treaty of June 23rd, 1921 [1919?], Article [Page 631]
II of which literally said: [“] In accordance with the clauses of
this treaty, the facts that authorize the delivery of persons
accused and sentenced will be: I. As regards the presumed
delinquents, the offences which according to the penal law of the
requesting nation are subject to a punishment, causing privation of
liberty, not less than two years or other equivalent punishment; 2.
As regards the sentenced delinquents, such offences as are
punishable within one year of the same punishment as a maximum.”
This form, or another similar one, in my judgement, is the best way
to avoid any conflicts due to the lack of perfect coincidence
between the two texts.
Yours very truly,