458.11 Dexter and Carpenter, Inc./82

The Minister in Sweden (Morehead) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 305

Sir: With further reference to the Department’s instruction No. 54 of May 13, 1931, relating to the claim of Dexter and Carpenter, Incorporated, an American corporation, against the Swedish State Rail-, ways and in confirmation of my telegram No. 20 of July 22 [21], 5 p.m.,10 I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy and translation of a communication received from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, dated July 18, 1931, in reply to my note No. 100 of June 9th last10 informing me that the Swedish Government, to its regret, cannot see its way clear to inviting the Administration of the Swedish State Railways to pay a court judgment rendered against it and in favor of Dexter and Carpenter, Incorporated.

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Respectfully yours,

John M. Morehead

The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs (Ramel) to the American Minister (Morehead)

Mr. Minister: By letter of June 9th last you invited my attention to the judgment rendered by an American tribunal condemning the Royal Administration of the State Railways to pay to Dexter and Carpenter, Incorporated, damages amounting to $411,203.72 plus 6% interest from April 25, 1928. In the same letter you likewise expressed the hope of seeing this matter, now that it has been brought to the attention of the Swedish Government through diplomatic channels, settled by the payment of the above mentioned amount.

In reply to this communication I have the honor to inform you as follows.

The Administration of the Swedish State Railways, to whom the above letter has been communicated, states that, according to the [Page 1015] regulations governing its activities, it believes that it is neither authorized nor obligated, in the absence of a judgment rendered by a Swedish court and which has received force from the thing judged, to satisfy any claims other than those which are clear and incontestable and that it cannot consider the claim in question as fulfilling this condition. It maintains, besides, that, according to Swedish law and in the absence of any expressly formulated convention contrary thereto, judgments rendered by foreign tribunals are not executory in Sweden. A Swedish private person domiciled in Sweden, whom a foreign tribunal condemns to effect a payment, is not consequently bound to execute it, excepting when a new action pleaded in Sweden before a Swedish tribunal leads to the same judgment. The Administration of the Swedish State Railways does not believe that it can adopt a point of view in this regard other than one which would apply to any private Swedish enterprise whatsoever and even less in the present case inasmuch as the question of determining whether the demand of the firm Dexter & Carpenter is justified depends upon the interpretation to be given to a contract made in Sweden between the Administration and a Swedish Company, Beijer & Company, having its seat in Sweden, a contract the effect of which with respect to a third party, in this case the firm Dexter & Carpenter, with which the Swedish Company in turn made a contract, cannot be determined excepting by Swedish law. It can only then invite the firm Dexter & Carpenter eventually to institute an action before the Swedish courts.

The Swedish Government shares the viewpoint of the Administration of the State Railways. And to the considerations which the latter has set forth it desires to add the following. In the case under consideration it had invoked against the competence of the American courts an exception deriving from the immunity by which the above Administration should benefit in its quality as an organ of the Swedish State. This exception was not admitted, it is true, during the course of the action, by reason of the fact that it would not have been opposed under the conditions required by the internal rules of procedure fixed by American jurisprudence. But the courts of the United States have recognized in principle that in international law and according to American jurisprudence, the Administration of the Swedish State Railways enjoys immunity. In this fact also the Swedish Government perceives a reason for not accepting as final the judgment rendered by the American courts against this Administration.

For the reasons set forth above, the Swedish Government, to its regret, cannot see its way clear to inviting the Administration in question to pay the sum which the American court has condemned it to pay, and can only advise the firm Dexter & Carpenter to formulate [Page 1016] a demand before the Swedish courts. Any judgment which they may render will be obligatory for the above administration.

Please accept [etc.]

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