The Ambassador in Argentina (Weddell) to the Secretary of State

No. 1701

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 1686 of July 29,3 with which was forwarded in original and translation the text of the proposed convention on the right of asylum which has been drafted by the Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The translation referred to was prepared by the Embassy, which has now received from the Foreign Office an official English translation [Page 143] which is forwarded herewith. This text has been compared with the one prepared by the Embassy and has been found to be substantially in agreement with the latter.

Respectfully yours,

Alexander W. Weddell

The Argentine Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the American Embassy

Draft Convention on the Right of Asylum4

The Governments of. . . . . . . . aware of the necessity of fixing the rules they should observe in their mutual relations as regards the granting of political asylum;

Bearing in mind the instruments approved with that object at Montevideo, in February 1889, on concluding the treaty on international penal law at the South American Congress of Private International Law;5 the provisions set forth in the draft convention number 10 approved in March 1927 at Rio de Janeiro by the International Board of American Jurisconsults;6 the Convention approved by the Sixth International American Conference met at Havana in January and February 1928,7 and the amendments made to its text by the Seventh International American Conference met at Montevideo in December 1933;8

And with the object of coordinating the different treaties in force with the practices followed as regards the right of asylum and the juridical status of the political refugees;

Have resolved to conclude the present convention, and accordingly have appointed as their plentipotentiaries:

The President of . . . . . . .

The President of . . . . . . .

Who, having communicated their respective full powers, found to be in due order, have agreed as follows:

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Chapter I—Internal Asylum

Article i. Political asylum may be granted to all persons, whatever their nationality might be, without impairing the right to protection which the State they belong to, owes to such persons.

Article ii. Asylum can only be granted in the embassies, legations, warships, military encampments or aircrafts, and it is accorded exclusively in cases of political offenses or causes.

The heads of mission may also receive refugees in their private residences, whenever they are not living at the embassy or legation.

Article iii. Asylum shall not be granted to those accused of common offenses during proper legal proceedings, or who have been condemned by the common courts.

The determination of the causes which give rise to the asylum belongs to the State granting it. To this effect, principal account should be taken of the circumstances giving rise to the asylum, as well as the political motive in the concurrent offenses. Terrorists shall not profit by the asylum.

Asylum shall not be granted to army and navy deserters. In case of armed rebellion, account should be taken of the fact of their non appearance, and whether it has any political significance.

Article iv. The diplomatic agent or commander granting the asylum shall immediately communicate the names of the refugees to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State where the event took place, or to the administrative authority of the locality, if it occurred outside the capital, unless serious circumstances made this materially impossible, or communication dangerous for the security of the refugees.

Article v. While the asylum lasts, the refugees shall not be allowed to do any acts that endanger the public order.

The diplomatic agents or commanders shall require from the refugees their personal data and their promise not to hold communications with the exterior without their expressed approval. Should they refuse or violate any of these conditions, the diplomatic agent or commander shall immediately cause the asylum to cease.

Article vi. The government of the State may require that the refugee be placed outside the national territory, as soon as possible; and the diplomatic agent or commander who has granted the asylum may on his part demand the necessary guarantees in order that the refugee may leave the country, the inviolability of his person being duly respected. Should those guarantees not exist, the evacuation may be put off until the local authorities facilitate them.

Article vii. Once the refugees have left the country, they may not be landed in any part of the same. In the case that an ex-refugee returned to that country to take part in the movement that caused the [Page 145] asylum to be granted, it shall not be granted again by any of the High Contracting Parties.

Article viii. When the number of refugees exceed the normal capacity of the places of refuge set down in Article II, the diplomatic agents or commanders may provide other places, under the protection of their flag for their shelter and lodging. In such case they have to ask for the consent of the authorities.

Article ix. Warships or military aircrafts which are temporary in arsenals or workshops for repairs, shall not give shelter to those who might take refuge in them.

Chapter II—External Asylum

Article x. The asylum in the territory of the High Contracting Parties is inviolable as regards those persecuted for political offenses or reasons; but the country of refuge is obliged to prevent the refugees from acting in its territory in a manner that may endanger the public peace of the country from which they come.

The political refugees shall not be allowed to set up committees or boards, which have evidently been established for the purpose of promoting or furthering disturbances of the established order in any of the territories of the Contracting Parties. Such boards or committees shall be dissolved, once their subversive nature has been verified by the authorities of the State in which they are.

The propagation of ideas shall be ruled according to the legal provisions of the country of refuge.

Article xi. On the request of the State concerned, the country which has granted asylum shall keep watch over and remove to a prudent distance of its frontiers those political emigrants who were notoriously known as leaders of a subversion, as well as those intending to join it.

The appreciation of the proof set forth by the state requiring it and the prudential character of the distance from the frontiers shall for the effects of the confinement depend on the criterium of the authorities of the required State.

Article xii. The various expenses incurred by the confinement of political refugees or emigrants shall be met by the State asking for it. An amount, not higher than the minimum salary fixed by local laws or customs, shall be settled for the maintenance of those confined.

Article xiii. The political refugees may ask permission to leave the territory from the Government of the State in which they are. This shall be granted on condition they do not return to the country where they came from and having previously reported to the Government concerned.

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Chapter III—General Provisions

Article xiv. In case of dissidence on the application of political asylum, the Government of the High Contracting Parties shall consult between themselves in order to arrive at a friendly solution of the controversy, which it has not been possible to settle through direct negotiation.

Article xv. Any State not signatory to this Convention may adhere to it by sending the appropriate instrument to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic, which will notify the other High Contracting Parties through diplomatic channels.

Article xvi. The present Convention shall be ratified by the High Contracting Parties according to their constitutional procedures.

The original Convention and the instruments of ratification shall be deposited in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic, which shall communicate the ratifications to the other Contracting States through diplomatic channels. The Convention shall enter into force among the High Contracting Parties in the order in which they have deposited their ratifications.

Article xvii. This Convention shall be in force for an indefinite period, but it may be denounced by two years’ previous notice, at the expiration of which it shall cease in its effects as regards the denouncing State but it shall remain in force as regards the other signatory States. Notice of denunciation shall be addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic which shall transmit it to the other Contracting States.

In witness whereof the above mentioned Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Convention in Spanish and . . . . . . . and stamp their respective seals.

Done at Buenos Aires this . . . . . . . day of the month of . . . . . . . nineteen hundred and thirty seven.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Printed in Argentine Republic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Project of Convention on the Right of Asylum (Buenos Aires, 1937), p. 1.
  3. Signed at Montevideo, January 23, 1889, by Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. For text, see Tratados Bobre Derecho International Privado Celebrados por el Congreso Sudamericano de Montevideo y Sancionados por la Honorable Asamblea General Legislativa de la República Oriental del Uruguay (Montevideo, 1901), pp. 27–43; and Tratados Bobre Derecho Intenacional Privado Celebrados en el Congreso Bud-Americano de Montevideo (Montevideo, 1911), pp. 25–40.
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. i, p. 387.
  5. See Report of the Delegates of the United States of America to the Sixth International Conference of American States Held at Habana, Cuba, January 16 to February 20, 1928, with appendices (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1928), pp. 19, 225.
  6. See Department of State Conference Series No. 19: Report of the Delegates of the United States of America to the Seventh International Conference of American States, Montevideo, Uruguay, December 3–26, 1933 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1934), pp. 21, 141.