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that those powers should be exercised only within the rigorous limits fixed by them, and they have never dreamed of authorizing the commissioners to enlarge their sphere of action by leaving the interpretation of the clauses of the treaty to them.
Now, during the negotiation of the convention of 1880, it was well understood that neither of the contracting parties would consent to any revision of decisions pronounced within its territory by competent authorities in any form whatever. In order to meet such a case, Article II formally and explicitly provides that the Commission shall not decide any claim that either Government has already caused to be settled either diplomatically, judicially, or otherwise by competent anthorities. According to our views the case of the Magdalena has been judicially settled, since it has been passed upon by two bodies invested with judicial powers. I am aware that different doctrines have been laid down with regard to the weight to be attached to the decisions of prize courts; it does not seem to me, however, that this is a proper time for the discussion of those doctrines, for, even admitting, for the moment, that the case of the Magdalena is not to be considered as having been judicially decided, it cannot be denied that it comes under the head of those which have been otherwise decided by competent authorities.
On the 17th December, 1881, Mr. Blaine wrote to Mr. Outrey, statingThat after such consideration as I have been able to give to the question I have reached the conclusion that that claim, because of the antecedent proceedings by the competent authorities of France, of which it has been the subject, not properly within the cognizance of the Mixed Commission, established under the provisions of the convention of the 15th of January, 1880, between the two republics.
And he further stated that the agent and counsel on the part of the United States would be instructed to withdraw the claim of Taylor, and that in taking this view of the question he (Mr. Blaine) was
Influenced in no small measure by the earnest desire felt by this Government to give full effect to the spirit, no less than to the letter of the second article of the convention, and by thus withholding from the cognizance of that international tribunal any claim which may have already been made the subject of inquiry and determination by the competent anthorities of France, avoid any occasion for making the competency of such proceedings the subject of question or review. That the French Government, animated by a like disposition, will pursue a similar course with regard to any claims presented for the consideration of the Commission on behalf of citizens of France against the United States, which shall be found to have already been inquired into, and decided either diplomatically, judicially, or otherwise by the competent authorities of the United States, I do not allow myself to doubt.
On the 21st December, 1881, Mr. Outrey wrote me as follows:
I need not add that on our part we shall strictly observe, the case arising, the legal interpretation given by mutual consent to Article II of the convention of January 15, 1880.
Pursuant to the agreement thus arrived at, several cases have been withdrawn. But while the case of Le More & Co. was some time since brought to the attention of Mr. Roustan, and while I understood that our views harmonized, and while several conversations have taken place with regard to it, it appears to be still pending before the Commission, and I am now informed that that body purposes to force it to trial notwithstanding the negotiations which have taken place and the further negotiations which are now pending.
The case is clearly one which has been disposed of by a competent tribunal. It has been decided in regular gradation by the inferior courts of the United States and by its highest court of final resort. This is not denied, and while it has been contended in conversation that the Supreme Court had not jurisdiction of the case, a conclusive answer to this assertion is found in the fact that the very point was made before the court, and the court in terms, and expressly decided that it had jurisdiction over the case. This decision caunot but be regarded as final, and as, to quote Mr. Outrey's words, " during the negotiation of the convention of 1880, it was well understood that neither of the contracting parties would consent to any revision of decisions pronounced within its territory by competent authorities in any form whatever," and as the case of Le More has been judicially settled, since it has been passed apon by three bodies invested with judicial powers, I have to request that the agent on behalf of the Republic of France before the French American Commission be instructed to withdraw this claim from the consideration of that body.
Be pleased to accept, sir, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.
FRED'K T. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. HORACE DENAUT.
Mr. Roustan to Mr. Davis.
WASHINGTON, January 7, 1884. MY DEAR MR. DAVIS:
I called at the State Departmentat 1 o'clock for the purpose of giving you some explanations with regard to the situation of the case of Mr. Le More, referring to your letter of to day.
I thought that you would have received a copy of the letter addressed by Mr. J. Ferry to Mr. Morton on the 27th of December last, but, as I was informed by Mr. Hunter, you have received only an extract from that letter. I therefore send you a copy of its full text, wbich I have received by telegraph. I will call to-morrow at 11 o'clock, in order to talk with you of this matter, unless you are otherwise engaged. Truly, yours,
TH. ROUSTAN. Hon. JOHN DAVIS.
Copy of a letter addressed by Mr. Ferry, president of the council, minister of foreign af
fairs, to Mr. Morton, minister of the United States, under date of December 27, 1883.
You were pleased to communicate to me on the 22d instant a telegram from Mr. Frelinghuysen, in relation to the claim brought against the United States by Mr. Le More, a French citizen, and laid before the Mixed Commission sitting at Washington. The honorable Secretary of State of the United States desired that the decision of this claim should be postponed, in order that the two Governments might thus be enabled to decide whether it was not proper for it to be withdrawn, according to Article II of the treaty of 1880.
With a view to complying with this desire I at once telegraphed to our commissioner at Washington not to oppose the desired postponement. It appears, however, from Mr. Lefaivre's reply, that by a unanimous decision, after a formal deliberation, the Commission ordered, on the 19th of December, that Mr. Le More's case should be submitted to it on the 2-th instant. This decision, in which the American Commis. sioner acquiesced, as did also the Brazilian commissioner, evidently changes the condition of the question ; to the doubts which existed, and which should have inured to the benefit of the claimant, it adds a presumption, and, as it were, a kind of acquired right, of the benefit of which it does not seem possible to deprive him. It does not appear, moreover, by what right one of the two Governments could interfere in order to cause the postponement of a decision adopted by the Commission, which alone bas power to decide upon the order i which its work is to be performed. In this state of things, it has seemed proper to me to allow the proceedings to take their own course, the Commission being the proper judge of the question whether Mr. Le More's claim should be withdrawn for a reason based upon Article II of the treaty of 1880, which is the law by which it is governed. I will thank you to inform Mr. Frelinghuysen of the reasons which have prevented me from complying with his request.
Mr. Davis to Mr. Roustan.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 7, 1884. SIR: Referring to the letter which the Secretary of State addressed to Mr. Denaut, on the 27th December last, in reference to the case of G. A. La More & Co., No. 211, before the French-American Claims Commission, I have the honor to request you to instruct the agent on the part of the Republic of France to delay action in the matter before the Commission for the present and until the two Governments shall have finally disposed of the question alluded to in that note. Accept, sir, the renewed assurance of my high consideration.
Acting Secretary. Mr. THEODORE J. ROUSTAN.
Mr. Roustan to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
LEGATION OF FRANCE IN THE UNITED STATES,
Washington, January 11, 1884. Mr. SECRETARY OF STATE:
After the receipt of the communications which you addressed to this legation on the 27th ultimo and the 7th instant, relative to the Le More case, I had a conversation on Tuesday last with the Assistant Secretary of State, to whom I communicated a letter written by the president of the council to Mr. Morton, on the 27th ultimo, in which the reasons were stated why Mr. Jules Ferry deemed it to be his duty to leave the question to be decided by the Claims Commission.
Mr. John Davis made several observations to me on this subject, especially with regard to the scope which Mr. Ferry seemed inclined to give to the decision of the Commission bearing date of the 19th ultimo, which put the case on the docket for the 28th of that month, and he insisted that the French Government should consent to having this case postponed by the Commission, and that the negotiations should be resumed which took place between us last summer, and at the conclusion of which I addressed a report to my Government relative to the Le More claim. I telegraphed a report of that conversation to Paris, and I now have the honor to communicate to you the reply which I have received on this subject.
The president of the council informs me that the observations presented by the United States Government, which are reproduced in my report of last year, have not dispelled the doubts which exist in the mind of the French Government as to whether Mr. Le More's claim should be considered as having been previously settled.
The president of the council, thinking that the claimant ought to have the benefit of the doubt, does not consider that it would be proper for him to deprive Mr. Le More of the last resort that remains to him. He thinks that under these circumstances, and in view of the difference of opinion on this subject between the two Governments, it is proper
to leave it to the Mixed Commission to decide the question by examining thoroughly, according to Article II of the treaty of 1880, whether Mr. Le More's claim should be decided by it (the Mixed Commission).
I trust, Mr. Secretary of State, that this method of settlement, which leaves the principle of the matter intact, will secure the adhesion of the United States Government.
Be pleased to accept, Mr. Secretary of State, the assurances of my highest consideration.
TH. ROUSTAN. Hon. FREDERICK T. FRELINGHUYSEN,
Secretary of State of the United States, Washington.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Roustan.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 15, 1884. SIR: With reference to previous correspondence on the subject, I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 11th instant, in relation to the case of Le More.
Adding that the Department has communicated with Mr. Morton on the subject, I beg you to accept, sir, a renewed assurance of my highest consideration. ·
FREDERICK T. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. THEODORE ROUSTAN.
Mr. Morton to Mr. Blaine.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Paris, October 13, 1881. SIR: At the suggestion of several parties, appointed commissioners at Paris to take testimony in support of certain American claims presented before the Franco-American Commission, and who had been unable to secure the attendance of French witnesses, I addressed a note to Mr. B. St. Hilaire, inquiring if there were no means of compelling the attendance of such witnesses. He replied that he knew of none.
I inclose herewith a copy of my note and also of the answer of Mr. B. St. Hilaire, with a translation of the same. As I understand Mr. Boutwell is desirous of seeing this correspondence, I respectfully suggest that it be communicated to him. I have, &c.,
L. P. MORTON.
Mr. Morton to Mr. B. St. Hilaire.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Paris, August 16, 1881. Bir: Information has reached me from several parties, who have been appointed commissioners at Paris for the purpose of receiving testimony in claims brought against the French Government before the Franco-American Claims Commission, sitting in Washington, that many of the witnesses refuse voluntarily to appear. I have to request of your excellency to be so good as to inform me whether such persons can be compelled to appear and testify, and, if so, what steps are to be taken to secure such attendance. I would also be grateful to your excellency to inform me whether it is the purpose of the French Government to have their counsel appear before the commissioners above mentioned, in order to cross-examine the witnesses of the claimants. An early reply to this inquiry by your excellency will be highly appreciated by Your excellency's most obedient, &c.,
L. P. MORTON. His Excellency M. B. ST. HILAIRE.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paris.
Mr. St. Hilaire to Mr. Morton.
PARIS, August 18, 1881. SIR: In your letter of the 16th of this month, you have had the goodness to speak of the difficulties which stand in the way of the execution of mandates issued in order to receive, in Paris, depositions in support of American claims, presented to the Mixed Commission in Washington. Several of the witnesses refusing to respond to the summons, which has been addressed to them, you ask whether it is possible to compel them to appear; besides, you express a wish to know, if it enters into our designs, that a French delegate be present at the examinations to proceed, if it is necessary, to a counter-inquest.
I hasten to convey to you the opinion that, to my knowledge, there does not exist in our legislation any text, the provisions of which could be appealed to in order to compel witnesses to comply with a summons which, in this case, does not proceed from a competent judicial authority. The regulations of the Commission at Wasbington say, moreover :
“Qu'en France, et dans ses possessions, les dépositions pourront être recueillies par toute personne autorisée par les lois françaises à les recevoir pour les tribunaux de juridiction ordinaire."
We do not see in these cases any motive for direct interference in the inquests to which you allude, our agent in the Commission remaining exclusively intrusted with the initiative of measures to be taken during the procedure in the interests of the French Government. Accept, &c.,
B. ST. HILAIRE. Nr. L. P. MORTON,
Minister of the United States at Paris.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Morton.
WASHINGTON, December 15, 1883. MORTON, Minister, Paris :
Ask foreign office whether Albert C. Janin has been appointed assistant counsel before the French-American Commission; if not, what his official position there is.