211.68/144

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Greece ( MacVeagh )

No. 239

Sir: Reference is made to the Department’s telegram No. 55 dated November 4, 1933, and to your telegram No. 114 dated November 9, 1933,17 concerning the abrogation of the Treaty of Extradition concluded on May 6, 1931, between the United States and Greece.18

Consideration has been given recently to the matter of withdrawing the notice of abrogation in order that the treaty may be continued in force. You no doubt will recall that the notice of abrogation resulted from the determination by the Greek courts that under the treaty they are required to examine into the question of the guilt of the fugitive whose extradition is sought and that they are not limited merely to ascertaining whether the evidence submitted by the United States is sufficient to justify the apprehension of the accused and his commitment for trial.

The opposing view taken by this Government finds support in the practice followed by substantially all other nations in interpreting similar treaty provisions with the United States. It is possible that after further consideration the Greek authorities may be disposed to adopt a similar view, especially as it is stated in your telegram referred to that with the exception of the one with Great Britain all other extradition treaties concluded by Greece are based on the principle that it is not permissible for the court considering the request for extradition to inquire into the basis of the charges preferred against the accused.

Unless the Greek authorities are disposed to interpret the treaty with respect to which you gave notice of abrogation, in the same manner in which it is interpreted by this Government, it appears that little useful purpose would be served in withdrawing the notice of denunciation. With a view to determining whether the notice should be withdrawn it is desired that you discuss the matter informally with the Greek authorities and report concerning their attitude toward the proposed action.

It may be pointed out in this relation that the Department would [Page 428] not be disposed to withdraw the notice in the absence of a formal assurance by the Greek Government that it accepts the interpretation of this Government with respect to the extent of the hearing to be accorded a person charged. This could perhaps best be accomplished by the conclusion of a protocol. I attach a draft of such a protocol which you are permitted to use in your discussions if the occasion presents itself. If the Greek authorities are disposed to accept the views of this Government and to set forth their concurrence in a protocol, doubtless the withdrawal of the notice of abrogation and the signature of the protocol would take place simultaneously.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
E. Walton Moore
[Enclosure]

Draft Protocol

Whereas a difference has arisen between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Greece with respect to the proper interpretation of Article I of the Treaty of Extradition concluded on May 6, 1931, between the United States and Greece, and in particular, with respect to the final clause of such Article which reads as follows:

“Provided That such surrender shall take place only upon such evidence of criminality as according to the laws of the place where the fugitive or person so charged shall be found, would justify his apprehension and commitment for trial if the crime or offense had been there committed.…”

Whereas it is desirable that such differences should be resolved, it is agreed as follows:

The final clause of Article I of the Treaty of Extradition concluded on May 6, 1931, between the United States and Greece, shall, from and after this date, be understood to mean that the court or magistrate considering the request for extradition shall examine only into the question of the sufficiency of the evidence submitted by the demanding Government to justify the apprehension and commitment for trial of the person charged; or in other words, whether the evidence discloses probable cause for believing in the guilt of the person charged. It is further understood that the quoted treaty provisions do not signify that the court or magistrate is authorized to determine the question of the guilt or innocence of the person charged.

In faith whereof the undersigned plenipotentiaries have signed the present protocol and affixed thereto their respective seals.

Done in duplicate at Athens, Greece, the . . . . . day of. . . . . . .

19 …

  1. Neither printed.
  2. For text of treaty, see Foreign Relations, 1931, vol. ii, p. 378.