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THE only Treaty of this nature entered into by Sweden, is with Holland, and was signed on the 10th September, 1855.*
This Convention contains no Articles of special interest, but provides for the Appendix No. 55. concession of the usual rights which are enjoyed by Consular Agents, and for reciprocity, as regards Swedish and Dutch Consuls, in the exercise of their respective functions.
Stockholm, December 10, 1871.
Report by Mr. Bonar.
CONSULAR Conventions, or Conventions containing clauses relating to Consular privileges, have been concluded by Switzerland with the following Powers, viz:The United States of America, November 25, 1850 (Commerce, &c.);
Great Britain, September 6, 1855 (Commerce, &c.);
Brazil, January 26, 1861 (Consular);
Ditto, September 7, 1867 (Consular);
Belgium, December 11, 1862 (Commercial Treaty);
Holland, January 19, 1863 (Consuls in Dutch Colonies);
Japan, February 6, 1864 (Commerce, &c.) ;
Italy, July 22, 1868 (Consular).
Appendix No. 45.
Appendix No. 124.
Appendix No. 15.
Appendix No. 16.
Appendix No. 63.
Appendix No. 34.
The Convention with the United States of America, is based upon the most-favoured- Convention with nation clause, and enters but little into detail. Its principle provisions are: in private the United States business, and all transactions not connected with their public functions, Consular Officers of America. are subject to the same laws and usages as citizens of the place in which they reside.
Offences by Consular Officers against the laws are punishable (according to circumstances) either by a withdrawal of the exequatur, by expulsion from the country, or by other penalties in conformity with the laws; assigning to the Government to which such Consular Officers belong, the reasons which may determine the peculiar course of action which has been determined on.
Complete inviolability is secured to all Consular archives and papers, nor can the law, under any pretext whatever, seize or interfere with them.
Consular Officers are empowered to support the demands of their Government respecting the extradition of fugitive criminals.
It will be unnecessary, probably, to dwell on the provisions of the Consular Treaty with Great Britain in this Report, as those provisions are so well known to Her Majesty's Government.
Passing on to the Consular Treaty with Brazil, it may be remarked that this Treaty enters into the minutest details as to the proceedings to be observed in the event of the Convention with decease of a Consular Officer, or other subject of either of the Contracting Powers, or as Great Britain. regards the forms for dealing with wills, and notarial acts, and the administration of real
and personal property; and as this Convention, from the extended nature of its Consular Convenprovisions, is generally invoked by other Governments under the most-favoured-nation tion with Brazil. clause, it may not be out of place to subject its Articles to close review.
The Consul or Vice-Consul shall not enter upon the exercise of his official duties until after he shall have obtained, in the prescribed form, the exequatur of the Government to which he is accredited, such exequatur being delivered gratis.
Each of the Contracting Powers shall have the right of withdrawing the exequatur of the Consul or Vice-Consul, whenever they consider such a step expedient, and on. assigning their reasons for so doing. Consular officers, of whatever grade, as also the
* See Commercial Treaty between Sweden and United States, of July 4, 1827 (Appendix No. 45); and Proclamation consequent thereon, of May 11, 1872, referred to in Sir E. Thornton's despatch of May 14, 1872, page 25.
Appendices No. 15.
Chanceliers belonging to the Consulate, shall enjoy, in either state, all the privileges powers, and immunities usually attaching to their office; such as exemption from lodgin troops, from all direct taxation, either of a personal nature, or on personal property, o on articles of luxury. From this rule is, however, excepted all property, real or other deriving from commercial transactions which they may enter into in their privat capacities.
Excepting in cases of "crime" the Consular Officer will be held to enjoy in eithe State complete personal inviolability, and he is only subject to arrest in the case o committing a "crime" held as such by the commercial law, while in the discharge of hi private commercial transactions; and in no case can he be arrested on a civil suit.
No Consular Officer of whatever grade, nor any Consular employé, can be summoned before a native Tribunal.
Notice of judicial proceedings must be addressed formally in writing to the Consulate, or carried on viva voce within that building.
In case of death or temporary absence of any Consular Officer, the person designated to discharge the Consular duties shall ipso facto be empowered to undertake them ad interim on the due recognition of this faculty by the local authority of the district under which the Consulate is placed, which authority is to determine the period when the exequatur is to be applied for and presented. Pending that sanction, and during the period alloted by the local authority for the application and presentation of the exequatur, the Consular Officer in charge will enjoy all the privileges and immunities attaching to his office.
In order that the above provisions may be carried out, the Head Consular Officer will, on arrival at his post, furnish the Government with a list of the Staff of the Consulate, and such Head Consulate Officer will give immediate notice of any change which may occur among the employés.
Whenever a Consular Officer is selected from the subjects of either of the Contracting Powers, such Consular Officer shall be held to be a subject of the nation to which he belongs, and he will consequently be amenable to the laws of the district in which he resides, without however being in any way hindered in the discharge of his functions, or thereby causing any diminution in the inviolability of the Consular archives.
This inviolability being fully recognized, and the archives being held exempt from examination and seizure, all such documents must be kept completely separate from works and papers relative to commercial transactions.
In the event of the decease of a Consular Officer who shall not have appointed a successor ad interim, the competent local authorities will affix seals on the archives, and, if possible, in the presence of one of the Consular Officers of any other nation residing in the district, as well as of two persons subjects of the country to which the Consular Officer belongs, or in default of such persons, in the presence of two leading persons belonging to the place, who will also affix their seals to the archives. A procès-verbal (in duplicate) of this transaction will then be drawn up, and one copy will be sent to the Consul, under whose jurisdiction such Consular Officer may be placed.
Previously to handing over the archives to the person designated to replace such deceased Consular Officer, the seals will be removed in the presence of the local authority.
When no Diplomatic Representative resides within the Consular jurisdiction, any Consular Officer, whatever his rank, may appeal to the Supreme Government to redress any infraction of Treaty rights by the authorities or functionaries of the State where he may reside, or appeal against any abuse of which the subject of the country to which the Consul belongs may complain, and such Consular Officer is at liberty to take any steps which he may deem expedient to remedy such abuse, or protect the interests of his countrymen.
All Consular officers of whatever denomination will be at liberty to receive at their offices any declaration or acts, notarial, testamentary, or otherwise, which merchants or subjects of the country, to which such Consular Officers may belong may present; or any agreements or contracts either as between subjects to the country to which such Consular officers belong, or as between natives, provided all such acts refer to property situated in the districts within their jurisdiction.
When, however, such acts refer to real property situated in a district within the said Consular jurisdiction, they must be signed in the presence of a public notary as well as in that of the Consular officer under penalty of being null and void.
All such acts, duly legalized by any Consular Officer, whatever may be his rank, and bearing the official seal, shall be accepted as, and have the force of, original legal docu ments by all local tribunals, judges, and authorities of Switzerland and Brazil, provided they be drawn up in the legal form prescribed by the laws of the country to which the
Consul may belong, and that all formalities are complied with as regards stamps, registering, &c., required by the law of the country where such acts are to be enforced.
In the event of the decease of a subject of either of the Contracting Parties, notice thereof is to be duly given to the Consular Officer by the local authorities, and reciprocally by the Consular officer to the local authorities, in those instances in which the latter may receive the earliest intimation thereof.
In case of the decease of a Swiss or Brazilian subject without heirs or executors, or where either no heir can be discovered, or such heir is held to be precluded from inheriting, Consular Officers must take the following' precautionary legal measures:
1. Official seals, or if it be desired, and on personal application, seals belonging to the interested parties, must be affixed to all personal effects and papers belonging to the deceased, notice of such a proceeding being given to the competent local authorities, who are at liberty to be present, and even if they desire it, may be allowed to add their seals to the official Consular seals, after which operation these double seals can only be removed by
2. An inventory must be drawn up of all the property and effects possessed by the deceased, in the presence of the competent local authority, if the latter should desire it.
All Consular Officers, whatever may be their rank, will appoint, in concert with the local authorities, a day for effecting this double proceeding, namely, affixing the double seals (an operation which must be performed with as little delay as possible,) and drawing up the inventory in question.
Due notice of these proceedings by letter will be given by Consular Officers to such local authorities, and the latter will acknowledge, in writing, that communication. Should the local authority not avail itself of the above invitation, the Consular Officer will at once proceed, without further delay or formalities, to carry out the above proceedings.
Consular Officers, whatever may be their rank, will, according to the usages of the country, effect the sale of all perishable personal property belonging to the succession. They are empowered to administer the property and liquidate the debts in person, or they may name on their own responsibility an agent for that purpose, without involving any interference on the part of the local authority in these latter proceedings, unless one or more subjects of the country, or of a third Power, should prefer claims on the succession; for, in a question of this nature, the Consular Officer not having authority to decide any difficult point which may arise, the case must be brought before the tribunals and judged according to the laws of the country in which the real or personal property is situated, the Consul in such instances acting as the representative of the succession.
The sentence of the Court once passed, the Consular Officer must see that it is carried out; provided he should not think proper to enter an appeal against such sentence, and in case the parties fail to come to an amicable arrangement on the question in dispute.
Consular Officers, whatever may be their rank, will announce in one of the local papers published within their jurisdiction, all cases of death which may occur among their countrymen, and such Consular Officers are not empowered to deliver over to the legitimate heirs or their representatives either the succession or its proceeds before due payment has been made of all debts incurred by the deceased in the country where the death has taken place, or before the discharge of all sums due on account of taxes, or unless a twelvemonth shall have elapsed since the death took place, and no claim on the succession has been made during that period.
It is further understood that the right of administering and liquidating the succession of Swiss subjects deceased in Brazil strictly belongs to Swiss Consular Officers, even in cases where the deceased shall have been minors, and children of Swiss subjects born in Brazil; and this, in view of the reciprocal power exercised by the Brazilian Consuls in Switzerland to administer or liquidate the succession of their countrymen in analogous
Every Swiss or Brazilian Consular officer of whatever rank, and every Chancelier or Secretary will enjoy in both countries all the privileges, exemptions, and immunities which may at any future time be accorded to Agents of the same rank belonging to the most-favoured nation.
By a Supplementary Convention concluded between Switzerland and Brazil on the Supplementary 7th September, 1867, the IXth Article of the above Treaty was even more fully interpreted, Convention and its provisions, especially as regards the administration of property belonging to land and Brazil. deceased Brazilian and Swiss subjects dying within the territory of either of the Contracting Parties, were yet more minutely laid down; but the foregoing enumeration of the provisions of the original Convention will have sufficiently explained its scope.
Appendix No. 16.
By the VIIth Article of the Commercial Treaty concluded between Switzerland and Commercial and Belgium on the 11th December, 1862, arrangements are made for the appointment of Consular Conven
Consular Convention with Japan.
Appendix No. 34.
Consuls within the territory of either of the Contracting Powers, with the simple stipulation that, before they are empowered to act, such Consuls must be duly recognized by the competent local authorities, and that certain places may, at the option of either Power, be exempted from admitting Consular establishments within their boundaries.
All Consular privileges and. immunities are reciprocally based by this Treaty on the
The Treaty concluded between Switzerland and Japan on 6th February, 1864, is equally based on the most-favoured nation clause, but contains some special provisions guarding against certain eventualities likely to arise in a barbarous country like Japan, and securing certain advantages which, in view of the jealousy with which foreigners are regarded in that country, could not otherwise have been obtained. Thus, it is stipulated that the Swiss Confederation shall have the right to establish at Yeddo a Legation or Diplomatic Agency. That the Consular Agents of either Power are to be allowed to travel without let or hindrance in the territories of the respective parties, that the places where Swiss citizens may settle and erect their dwellings will be selected by the Swiss Consular Officer in concert with the Japanese authorities, and every question having reference to Japanese ports shall be determined in the same manner, and differences on this point between the Consular Officer and the local authorities shall be referred to the Swiss Diplomatic Agent and the Japanese Government. That no walls or barriers calculated to imprede ingress or egress are to be raised by the local authorities round the residences occupied by Swiss subjects; that entire religious liberty is to be accorded to the latter, as well as full power to erect places of worship within the limits of their residences; that all differences arising between Swiss subjects domiciled in Japan with regard to persons or property, are to be submitted to the Swiss Consular officers, but that in all cases of grievance or complaint preferred by a Swiss against a Japanese, the Japanese authority will adjudicate thereon, and reciprocally, in all cases where a Japanese may have a grievance agains a Swiss citizen, the Swiss authority will examine and decide the question at issue.
The same system of judicial reciprocity is to be observed in all cases of debt incurred by a Swiss citizen or Japanese subject, the payment of which debt is either refused or attempted to be evaded. But neither authority is held responsible for the debts of their respective countrymen.
Swiss citizens guilty of a criminal act against a Japanese or against the subject of any other nation, will be cited before the Swiss Consular Officer, and sentence will be passed on them by the latter according to Swiss law; and, reciprocally, a Japanese subject guilty of a criminal act against a Swiss citizen will be cited before the Japanese authorities, and sentenced by them in accordance with the laws of Japan.
All applications for fines arising out of infractions of this Treaty are to be addressed to the Swiss Consular Officers, and all fines levied in consequence of such infractions will be handed over to the Japanese authorities.
All official communications addressed by a Swiss Consular Officer to the Japanese authorities are to be drawn up in French; but they should be accompanied by Dutch translations, in order to facilitate the transaction of the business to which such communications refer.
By the Treaty of Commerce concluded betwen Switzerland and Italy on the 22nd of July, 1868, the immunities, privileges, and powers of Consular officers, belonging to and established in either country, are also placed on the footing of the most-favoured-nation clause, and the Treaty between Switzerland and Brazil seems to have especially served as the basis of negotiation and the model for settlement of all formalities of a judicial nature, and functions to be executed by the respective Consular officers of the two Contracting Powers.
The foregoing observations apply equally to the Consular Convention concluded on the 19th of January, 1863, between Switzerland and the Netherlands, for the creation of Swiss Consulates in the Dutch Colonies.
The Swiss Confederation has at all times been desirous of seeing Consulates of their own established in the Ottoman dominions and its dependencies; and has more than once sought, at the especial request of the Swiss commercial communities in Egypt and elsewhere, to open negotiations with that object, and with the view,also of concluding a a. Commercial Treaty with the Porte. But hitherto the difficulty has always presented itself how and by whom should these negotiations be conducted? Although the subject has frequently been mooted, the Swiss Chambers have invariably shown a disposition to be satisfied with the working of the present system, and have not cared to appoint a special Commission to entertain the project.
On the other hand, the Porte demurs at allowing Consulates to be established in
Turkey unless they are placed under a Legation or Diplomatic Agency resident at Constantinople; and again the Federal Assembly refuses the necessary annual credit for this
Thus, both parties have been unable to come to any understanding on the subject. Besides this mutual disagreement on a cardinal point, there is another difficulty in the way of establishing Swiss Consulates in the Ottoman dominions, namely, that unless Swiss Consular officers enjoyed the same judicial attributes, and the same powers conceded by the Porte to the Consuls of other foreign nations, such Swiss Consuls, their privileges being circumscribed, would be placed in a position of inferiority. Moreover, there is no commercial or penal code common to all the Cantons of Switzerland. Consequently, to which of the twenty-six different Commercial and other codes now in force in the Confederation, all enjoying the same degree of authority, would an appeal have to be made in any question at issue? It is obvious that the same case might be liable to twenty-six different decisions according to each different code, and it is therefore to be hoped that the proposal now before the Chambers of consolidating all these various enactments into our common Federal Code will obviate this difficulty.
From this anomalous state of things it follows, that the Swiss citizens who find their way to the Ottoman dominions and its dependencies, have hitherto been placed under the protection of one or the other of the foreign Consulates, situated in those parts, the selection resting with the person seeking Consular protection, and being usually made according to the language of the canton to which such applicant may belong, or according to the nature of the question at issue.
The Hatti-Humayouun of 1856 granted, as is well known, in principle to foreigners, the right to hold in future real property in Turkey; since which period all foreigners may exercise this liberty under the conditions laid down in their respective Treaties.
The absence of any direct Convention with Switzerland, places the Swiss "Rajah” in an exceptionally prejudicial position on this score, in order to remedy which negotiations (on the good result of which the Federal Council already believe they may count with confidence), have commenced at Paris between Dr. Kern, the Swiss Minister, and the Turkish Ambassador, resident at the French capital.
Pending a decision on this head, Swiss citizens resident in the Levant, invoke the aid of foreign Consuls as regards this particular question, as on all others within the Consular competency.
Report by Mr. Pakenham.
A. G. G. BONAR.
THE United States possess 8 Consular Conventions, viz., with
There have also been numerous Treaties, in which the Consular system was referred to in greater or lesser detail. Some of these, as regards the Articles affecting Consuls, have been replaced by the above-mentioned Consular Conventions; others, of which a few contain, in addition, an Article of intent to negotiate a Consular Convention, are in force, and yet others have lapsed or have been abrogated.
The Consular Convention with France, contracted in 1788, and which was annulled solely on account of the hostile attitude of France in 1798, is worth special mention, as
Appendix No. 4.