The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Cuba (Crowder)

No. 543

Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 1176 of September 11, 1925, containing a report regarding the present status of the negotiations respecting the proposed extradition convention between the United States and Cuba. You forwarded a counter-draft of the convention submitted by the Cuban Foreign Office, together with copy and translation of the Foreign Office note respecting the provisions of such counter-draft, including the proposition to cover certain additional crimes in the proposed convention, and you state that in view of a subsequent note from the Foreign Office it should be considered in examining the text of the Cuban counter-draft that the Cuban Government is willing to add, presumably as paragraph No. 23 of Article II, the following provision:

“Infractions of the customs laws or ordinances which may constitute crimes.”

It is noted that the Foreign Office desires to designate the proposed convention as an additional protocol to the present extradition treaty, rather than as a supplementary convention as proposed by this Government. With respect to this point it may be observed that as the word “protocol” is used in this country, and generally so far as the Department is informed, it signifies an agreement between two foreign offices, whereas the proposed convention will necessarily, under the system of Government prevailing in the United States, [Page 26] be submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent, and dealt with in all respects like other treaty agreements made by this Government. Therefore the Department is clearly of the opinion that it would be more fitting to refer to the proposed convention as a supplementary extradition convention rather than as a protocol.

With relation to the proposed additional crimes to be included in the convention, and taking them in, the order in which they are mentioned in the Cuban counter-draft, it may be observed that the crime of dishonest or immoral abuses is not known as such in the jurisprudence of the United States, and the term is so lacking in definitiveness that the Department would be reluctant to include it among the list of extraditable crimes.

It may further be said that the Department would have no objection to including among extraditable crimes abortion and seduction of minors. However, the term “corruption of minors” does not connote as such, an offense known to the jurisprudence of the United States, and the Department would prefer not to include an extraditable crime so broadly and indefinitely termed.

The Cuban Foreign Office proposes to include the crime of “embezzlement, this being understood to be the defraudation made by one person against another by means of deceit.” While pointing out that embezzlement by public officers or depositaries and embezzlement by persons hired or salaried to the detriment of their employers are included among the extraditable crimes covered by the existing extradition treaty between the United States and Cuba, the Department may say that the crime quoted as contained in the Cuban proposal would seem to be covered by the following crime covered in paragraph No. 6 of Article II of the present treaty:

“Obtaining money, valuable securities or other personal property by false devices.”

The following crime is also proposed by the Foreign Office for inclusion in the convention: “Commercial frauds and crimes committed as the result of suspensions of payments or bankruptcy.” The Department is of the opinion that this proposal is not sufficiently definite and certain and would prefer that it be amended to read as follows:

“Crimes against bankruptcy law, if made criminal by the laws of both countries.”

The Department is, of course, in accord with the proposal to include in the convention “crimes against the laws for the suppression of the traffic in narcotic products”. Furthermore, the Department is willing to accept the Cuban proposal for the wording above quoted of the extraditable crime involving violations of the customs laws and regulations.

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You will please bring the foregoing promptly to the attention of the Foreign Office and endeavor to conclude a convention in accordance with the desires of the Department as above expressed.

I am [etc.]

Frank B. Kellogg