The German Ambassador (Maltzan) to the Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary of State: By direction of my Government I have the honor to request Your Excellency for a compilation of the provisions of law which relate to the privileges and immunities of persons belonging to diplomatic missions.

My Government would attach especial importance to having authentic information as to how far exemption from civil and criminal [Page 548] jurisdiction, including that of the administrative and police courts of the country, and obligation to testify is granted.

Under the German law, extraterritorial persons who belong to foreign missions are classified into the following categories:

The chiefs and members of the missions. To the member class belong, according to the provisions of the law, the persons having the so-called diplomatic character, that is, the counselors of embassy and legation, the secretaries of legation, the attaches, including the military, naval, and commercial attaches. From the German point of view, physicians and chaplains of legation would also belong to the missions insofar as all or the greater part of their activities are given to it.
The office attendants. To this class belong the following: Chancellor, interpreter, clerical staff, typists, telephone operators, office servants, janitors, stenographers, et cetera. In general, all those who are paid from the official fund.
The household attendants of the persons under section 1, that is, servants, private secretaries, stewards, governesses, et cetera.

These three categories enjoy in Germany exemption from the jurisdiction of the courts of the land, provided those involved are not German subjects. Similar privileges belong to members of the families of those in the first category.

Should there be no specific provisions of law in the United States concerning extraterritorial rights, I should be grateful to Your Excellency for information concerning the actual treatment of the persons who come under the three categories.

Accept [etc.]

  1. File translation revised.