The Secretary of War (Woodring) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: I am inclosing for your information a translation of a coded radiogram, dated May 22, 1937, received in the Bureau of Insular Affairs of this Department from the High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands.

Sincerely yours,

Harry H. Woodring

The High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands (McNutt) to the Secretary of War (Woodring)

Under date of May 8th my administrative assistant, at my direction, sent following letter to all Consuls:

“I have the honor to inform you that the United States High Commissioner has noted considerable variation by consular officers in Manila in the method of transmitting correspondence to the Commonwealth Government.

Inasmuch as the Act of Congress establishing the Commonwealth Government provides that foreign affairs shall be under the direct supervision and control of the United States, it is the desire of the United States High Commissioner that all official communications addressed to the Commonwealth Government, or any of its agencies, be forwarded to this office for transmittal to the Commonwealth Government.

Your cooperation in this matter will be appreciated. I have the honor to be, Sir, very respectfully yours.”

By official letter, quoted herewith, the German Consul takes exception:

“Manila, May 14, 1937. Excellency: I have received a letter of your Administrative Assistant dated 8th instant, regarding the method of transmitting correspondence to the Commonwealth Government. In this connection I wish to draw your attention to the provisions of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights [Page 986] between Germany and the United States of America,3 article 21 which reads as follows:

‘Consular officers, national[s] of the state by which they are appointed, may, within their respective regular officers [respective consular] districts, address the authorities, national, state, provincial or municipal, for the purpose of protecting their countrymen in the enjoyment of their rights accruing by treaty or otherwise. Complaint may be made for the infraction of those rights. Failure upon the part of the proper authorities to grant redress or to accord protection may justify interposition through the diplomatic channel, and in the absence of a diplomatic representative, a consul general or the consular officer stationed at the capital may apply directly to the government of the country.’

I have the honor to be Excellency, your most obedient servant. (Signed) Gasakowsky, Consul for Germany.”

Since receipt of this I understand he has referred question to his Government as to his conformance. Japanese Consul in informal conversations also raises question relative channel botheration of communications from consuls through this office to offices of Commonwealth Government. British and Italian Consuls are reported to have referred the letter to these [their?] Governments. Please refer this matter to Secretary of State for his early comment. In the past some matters of importance to this office did not come to our attention due to failure of consuls to route communications through this office.

  1. Signed December 8, 1923, Foreign Relations, 1928, Vol. ii, p. 29.