Mr. Adee to Mr. Tripp.

No. 170.]

Sir: I have to inform you that your dispatch No. 151, of the 26th ultimo, transmitting copies of your correspondence with the Austro-Hungarian foreign office in regard to the case of Solomon Czosnek, a naturalized American citizen, who was arrested on a charge of evading military duty in his native country, has been received.

It appears from the correspondence that Solomon Czosnek was born in Chrzanow, in the province of Galicia, of Austrian parents, in 1873. His father went to the United States and was naturalized while Solomon was a minor. In 1895 Solomon went to Chrzanow on business, having provided himself with a passport from this Department. He was arrested for violating military law in evading service, was bound over [Page 20] to the district court to answer the criminal charge, and through your intervention he was discharged.

The case is a valuable one, because in the Benich case and other cases the authorities of Austria-Hungary, while admitting that a passport of a friendly nation is prima facie evidence of citizenship and must be respected by administrative officers, have suggested that judicial officers might act in disregard of it. In this case you contended that when there is no charge of fraud in the procurement of a passport or as to the identity of the person presenting it, it must be respected by judicial as well as administrative officers, and the correspondence shows that this view was shared by the Austro-Hungarian minister, who instructed the attorney to dismiss the complaint, and added that hereafter the judicial authorities of Galicia would be instructed to be governed in all similar cases by the views expressed in your notes. You add that since the determination of the Benich case the annoyances of our citizens bearing American passports have been much less frequent, and you express the opinion that now they will enterely end. They seem to have been due in the past not to any want of courtesy on the part of the officials of the foreign office or of the higher officials of State, but from overzeal and want of knowledge on the part of local authorities not under the control or jurisdiction of the ministry of foreign affairs.

The Department fully approves of your course in regard to the case in question.

I am, etc.,

Alvey A. Adee,
Acting Secretary