458.11 Dexter and Carpenter/94: Telegram

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

21. Department’s No. 19, August 29.12

Department agreed September 1 to exchange ratifications October 1 of the agreement to arbitrate Swedish ship cases.13
The Dexter and Carpenter claim is based wholly upon a judgment of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals rendered on a counter claim presented in connection with an action which the Swedish State Railways had voluntarily instituted and vigorously prosecuted against the American concern. The judgment is based upon a breach of a contract entered into in the United States and to be performed in this country. The Court therefore had jurisdiction both of the parties and of the subject matter in dispute.
It became necessary to present a diplomatic claim only because efforts to execute that judgment in the same American courts were frustrated by the plea of sovereign immunity. This plea of immunity placed the case in the diplomatic channel since Dexter and Carpenter had no other remedy.
The Swedish Government does not endeavor to impeach the judgment but rather ignores it by suggesting that Dexter and Carpenter should bring suit in the Swedish courts. This treatment of the claim and the apparent lack of respect for a decision of a high court of the United States are highly disappointing to the Department, considering the circumstances under which the case arose, and may become an element for consideration in connection with other matters pending or which may arise between the two Governments.
The Department shall be greatly disappointed if some settlement is not arrived at during Mr. Haight’s14 visit to Sweden. You should inform the Foreign Office in the sense of the foregoing and express the hope that they will take advantage of his presence to bring about a settlement.
  1. Not printed.
  2. Department of State, Press Releases, October 3, 1931 (Publication No. 240), p. 268. For correspondence concerning these cases, see Foreign Relations, 1930, vol. iii, pp. 818 ff. For records of the arbitration, see Department of State Arbitration Series No. 5, Arbitration Between United States and Sweden Under Special Agreement of December 17, 1930; The “Kronprins Gustav Adolf” and the “Pacific”, in six parts (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1932–1934).
  3. Charles S. Haight of Haight, Smith, Griffin and Deming, attorneys for Dexter and Carpenter.