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The Governments have the right to refuse to grant, and to retire the exequaturs, but in either case must acquaint the Government in whose service the Consul is, with their reasons for so doing.
The following are the privileges enjoyed by the Consuls, namely:
1. Independence of the authorities in matters relative to the exercise of the Consular duties.
2. If holding the appointment of Consul-General they cannot be imprisoned for debt. 3. Exemption from public service.
4. Exemption from all personal contributions.
5. Right to display the flag and arms of their Republic in their house.
The exemptions 3rd and 4th do not apply to Consuls or Vice-Consuls who may be citizens of the Republic in which they reside, nor to merchants, although they may be citizens of the Republic in whose service they are. If merchants, they are not entitled either to exemption No. 2.
If the presence of the Consuls is required at the Tribunals, they must be cited in writing, and have a seat of preference.
The archives and papers of the Consul are inviolable.
In everything not concerning the exercise of their official duties, the Consuls are subject to the laws of the country in which they reside.
Their houses have no right of asylum.
They have the right to address the authorities in their district and, when necessary, the Supreme Government, through the Diplomatic Agent of their Government, if there is one, and if not, direct, in order to claim redress for any infringement of Treaties or abuses committed by officials that may prejudice the citizens of the State in whose service they are. They may aid their fellow-citizens before the Tribunals in actions brought for such abuses.
Damages to ships, or the effects and merchandize on board of them, are to be arranged by their respective Consuls. If citizens of the Republic in which the Consul resides are among the parties interested, the local authorities are to decide on the damage, the Consul only having the right to interfere as representing the interests of his fellowcitizens.
The Consuls are to decide any disputes that may have occurred on the high seas between the captains and crews, if a citizen of the Republic where he resides is not implicated. He will interfere in the internal discipline of the vessels of his country when in the ports of his district-the authorities of the country having the right to interfere only when requested to do so; when the public tranquillity is disturbed; when there are persons implicated not belonging to the crew; and when it has been proved that the persons in charge of the internal discipline of the ship have committed a serious abuse of authority. The Consuls may arrange amicably discussions and differences in commercial matters between their fellow-citizens, and such arrangements will be duly respected by the authorities of the State where they reside.
The Consul must direct the operations regarding the saving of ship-wrecked or stranded vessels of the nation that he represents.
The authorities will only interfere to preserve order, prevent robbery, and protect the interests of the salvors. In the absence of the Consul they will take measures to protect the lives and property in danger. The articles saved, if intended for internal consumption, are not liable to pay Custom duties.
In the case of the death of a citizen of the nation that he represents, the Consul, if there are no heirs nor executors, will make arrangements, in accordance with the laws. of the country, for the security of the property of the deceased, and if no will should have been made, the Consul can interfere in the formation of inventories, valuations, &c.
The Consul has the right to represent his fellow-citizens when they have any interest in the succession, and to receive and deposit money and effects on their behalf.
The Consul has the right to require the aid of the authorities, to imprison or detain deserters from any vessels of the nation that he represents; said deserters may be imprisoned at the request and for account of the Consul for a term not exceeding two months.
The Consuls-General can appoint Vice-Consuls when they are authorized to do so, and the Consuls or Vice-Consuls may name a Secretary when required.
The Consuls of either Republic shall afford protection to the citizens of the other in absence of their respective Consuls.
In case of the death of a Consul or, in his absence, if there is no Vice-Consul, the Secretary shall perform his duties as Provisional Vice-Consul.
The Consular officers of each Republic shall enjoy any privileges or immunities (not
included in this contract) that may be granted to officers of the same character of the mostfavoured nations.
Lord Lyons to Earl Granville.-(Received March 6.)
Paris, March 5, 1872. WITH reference to your Lordship's Circular of the 28th August last, I have the honour to transmit to you copies of a despatch from Mr. West, and of a Report drawn up by him, on the question of Consular Conventions.
1 concur in the observations made by Mr. West with regard to the disadvantages entailed upon British Consuls and British subjects abroad, by the refusal of Great Britain to enter into Consular Conventions with foreign Powers. In this refusal Great Britain stands almost alone. Reluctance to grant to foreigners privileges in Great Britain has, I suppose, been the motive, which has deterred the British Government from securing for Her Majesty's Consuls, and Her Majesty's subjects in general, the privileges enjoyed abroad by those of other countries. It is, indeed, certain that Consular Conventions can be concluded only on principles of strict reciprocity; and the refusal of Great Britain to establish this reciprocity by international agreements has, in many cases, had the effect of rendering foreign Governments particularly tenacious in withholding from Her Majesty's Consuls the exercise of any authority to which they are not strictly entitled.
I have, &c.
Appendices Nos. 1, 2, 10, 11, 20, 21, 23, 24.
Paris, March 3, 1872.
WITH reference to Earl Granville's despatch to your Excellency of 31st January, 1872, I have the honour to submit to your Excellency a Memorandum upon the Consular Conventions which are in force between France and foreign countries, together with copies of those which exist with Brazil, United States, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Austria, furnished by the Director of the Consular Department of the French Foreign Office.
I have, &c. (Signed)
L. S. WEST.
CONSULAR Conventions exist between France and most other foreign nations. Annexed are copies of the Consular Conventions with United States (February 23, 1853); Brazil (December 10, 1860, and July 21, 1866); Spain (January 7, 1862); Italy (July 26, 1862); Portugal (July 11, 1866); and Austria (December 11, 1866). The last-mentioned contains a separate and special one, "pour le règlement des successions," and is worthy of notice as laying down explicit regulations for the guidance of the respective Consular Officers in such cases.
In framing the provisions of these Conventions care is always taken that they shall in no wise clash with the common law of the respective nations, and their bearing on it is specially considered by the Minister of Justice as far as this country is concerned. When finally adopted the Consular Convention beconies, and is considered part of the law of the country, and the Consular Officer is thereby invested with legal authority in all matters appertaining thereto.
No cases appear to have arisen under any Consular Convention which have caused any conflict with the usual legal procedure. The legal attributions of the Consular Officer are generally distinctly defined, and his intervention, in all cases coming under the provisions of the Convention, attach exclusively to the administrative capacity with which he is thereby invested.
These observations apply more especially to cases of "succession" which are likely to involve questions of "droit commun," and as such, in an international point of view, require distinct definition. It is scarcely necessary to comment here upor the disputes which have arisen as regards cases of succession of British subjects in foreign countries in the absence of Conventions of such a nature as above-mentioned, but it ought to be borne in mind that, in bringing about a satisfactory settlement of such cases, the British Consular Officer is placed at a great disadvantage, and is entirely dependent upon the good-will of the Government of the country in which he hold his post for any facilities which "à titre de reciprocité" it may be willing to accord him.
In maritime cases the want of any understanding as to Consular jurisdiction acts most injuriously upon British interests.
The delay, the pecuniary expenses consequent thereon, and the confusion generally prevailing as to Consular duties in such matters where neither duties nor rights are defined, not only cause misapprehension, and oftentimes angry remonstrances on the part of the owners of British vessels, but leads to unseemly disputes with the local authorities, which tend greatly to destroy the efficiency of the Consular Officer, and to detract from the influence which as such he ought to exercise. By these Conventions, also, certain privileges are accorded to Consular Officers which it has been thought expedient they should possess (vide Articles X, XI, XII of the Convention with Spain).
It is unnecessary to point out the advantages accruing from these provisions, which the British Consular Officer cannot even pretend to under present circumstances. Again, the status of the subjects in the respective countries is clearly laid down (vide Articles I, II, III, IV, V, and VI of the same Convention). Immunities are thereby accorded to which British subjects can lay no claim, and they are, in consequence, subjected to vexatious exactions and legal proceedings from which other foreigners in the same country are exempt. L. SACKVILLE WEST.
IN compliance with the Instruction contained in your Lordship's Circular of August 28th last, I have the honour to state that, in reply to my inquiries at the Greek Foreign Office, I have been informed that the Hellenic Government has not entered into a Consular Convention with any foreign State, excepting in so far as Greece, in common with other Christian Powers, shares in the provisions of such of the "Capitulations" with the Ottoman Empire, as refer to foreign Consuls in Turkey.*
I have, &c.
* See Note to Commercial Treaty between Greece and Tuscany, of April 22, 1856, Page 152.
GUATEMALA AND SALVADOR.
Mr. Corbett to Earl Granville.-(Received February 26, 1872.)
31, 33, 34 35.
Sir A. Paget to Earl Granville.-(Received February 17.)
Belgium (December 12, 1870); Brazil (February 4, 1863); France (July 26, 1862); North Germany (December 21, 1868);* Peru (May 3, 1863); Portugal (September 30, 1868); Spain (July 21, 1867); Switzerland (July 22, 1868); and the United States (September 8, 1868).
Copies of these Conventions are herewith enclosed.
I am informed by the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, to whom I have applied for information on this subject, that the practical application of these Conventions has not as yet given rise to any inconvenience.
There appears, however, to be one point worthy of remark in regard to the working of the Conventions, namely, the obligation, according to which the local authorities are bound by the Conventions with France, North Germany, Portugal, and Spain, to give notice to the respective Consuls previously to proceeding on board a French, North German, Portuguese, and Spanish vessel for the purpose of examining her.
This practice is said to have been attended with inconvenience, and to have been the origin of delays, so that a tacit understanding has been come to between the Consuls of the Powers concerned and the local authorities, to the effect that no previous information should be given when ordinary Custom-house formalities have to be gone through; but that, in cases where there is a suspicion of intended fraud, and where a case for the tribunals might arise, the local authorities, before proceeding to make perquisitions or researches, should advise the Consul, who could then accompany them on board the ship.
I have, &c. (Signed)
See also Treaty, signed February 7, 1872, Appendix No. 27.
Admiral Harris to Earl Granville.-(Received March 4.)
The Hague, March 1, 1872. IN compliance with the request contained in Lord Enfield's despatch of the 12th ultimo, I have the honour to report as follows on the questions relative to Consular Conventions entered into between this and other countries, to which my attention was in the first instance drawn by your Lordship's Circular despatch of the 28th of August last.
The only Consular Conventions which have been concluded between the Netherlands Appendix No. 36. and foreign countries, with the exception of one with Spain, which has, however, not yet been approved by the States-General,* are those applying to Colonial possessions.
The first was concluded with Belgium (April 17, 1855), and has formed the Appendix No. 49. basis of all subsequent Conventions. It was followed during the same year by Con
ventions with France (June 8, 1855); the United States (January 22, 1855); and Appendices Nos. Sweden (September 10, 1855). In 1856 this country entered into similar arrangements 52, 62, 65. with Bremen (December 2, 1855); England (March 6, 1856); Austria (December 29, Appendices Nos. 1855); Prussia (January 16, 1856); Hanover (May 27, 1856); Denmark (June 6, 1856); 46, 50, 51, 53, 59, Saxony (June 3, 1856); and Sardinia (April 13, 1856): while, in the course of the 60, 106. following year, the list was augmented by the names of Mecklenburg (September 25, 1856); Appendices Nos. Oldenburg (ary 24, 1867); Hamburgh (January 18, 1857); Turkey (October 24, 1856); 47, 54, 56, 57, 58, Portugal (June 3, 1856); and Baden (July 27, 1857).
A Consular Convention which, like some of the others already named, was of necessity one-sided in its nature, was in 1858 signed with Wurtemberg (May 8, 1858), while Appendix No. 66. the years 1863, 1864, and 1865 saw three similar engagements entered into with Switzerland (January 19, 1863); Hesse-Darmstadt (November 18, 1863); and Bavaria Appendices Nos. (March 31, 1865). 48, 55, 63.
In 1866 a short Convention was signed with Spain (February 3, 1866), containing merely the most-favoured-nation clause, and, in 1868, the last Consular Treaty was concluded with Siam (April 1, 1867).t
As the Consular Convention between this country and Great Britain, which is already in your Lordship's hands, is almost identical with the others, it would be superfluous were I here to explain in minute detail its various provisions. It will probably be deemed sufficient, if I recall to your Lordship's recollection, that its object was stated in the preamble to be to secure the fullest possible extension to the relations of commerce between the two nations.
By it Consuls-General, Consuls, and Vice-Consuls of either nation were admitted to all the ports of the Colonies and foreign possessions of the other, which are open to the vessels of all nations, while subjected to the civil and criminal laws of the place where they reside, and where the house and the persons in it are expressly named as not exempted from the local jurisdiction, an exception is made in favour of the archives. I may remark that this exception is more distinctly worded in subsequent Conventions with other countries, which expressly state "that the archives and documents relating to the affairs of the Consulates shall be protected against any examination, and that no authority nor magistrate shall be able in any manner whatever or under any pretext, to examine, seize or take possession of them."
The Consular authorities are empowered to take charge of wrecks and their cargoes, to administer intestate personal property, and to act as Judges and Arbitrators in any differences which may arise between captains and crews of vessels of their own nationality. The local authorities are bound to afford their assistance to the Consular Agents, by means of arrest and surrender, and in the recovery of deserters from ships of their nationality.
In consequence of the Consular Treaty with Spain still requiring ratification, I am unable to transmit a copy to your Lordship. I can, however, state that it contains amongst others the following stipulations:
Consular Agents are admitted to all ports and towns, unless for special reasons, or because such ports and towns are closed to the Consuls of other friendly Powers.
If subjects of the Powers naming them, Consular Agents are exempt from all
Ratified March 14, 1872.
†The dates alluded to by Admiral Harris are those when the Treaties were respectively ratified; but for convenience of reference the dates when they were signed, in each case, are also added.
Appendix No. 61.