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Concluded July 11, 1870; ratification advised by the Senate December 9, 1870; ratified by the President December 19, 1870; time for exchange of ratifications extended by the Senate May 12, 1871; ratifications exchanged June 26, 1871; proclaimed June 29, 1871.
The President of the United States of America, and His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, etc., and Apostolic King of Hungary, animated by the desire to define in a comprehensive and precise manner the reciprocal rights, privileges and immunities of the Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls and Consular Agents (their Chancellors and Secretaries) of the United States of America and of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and to determine their duties and their respective sphere of action, have agreed upon the conclusion of a consular convention, and for that purpose have appointed their respective Plenipotentiaries, namely: the President of the United States of America, Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State of the United States; and His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, Charles, Baron von Lederer, Knight of the Imperial and Royal Order of Leopold, and His Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary in the United States of America, who, after communicating to each other their full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed upon the following articles:
Each of the high contracting parties shall be at liberty to establish Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents at the ports and places of trade of the other party, except those where it may not be convenient to recognize such officers; but this exception shall not apply to one of the high contracting parties without also applying to every other Power. Consuls-General, Consuls and other Consular officers appointed and taking office according to the provisions of this article, in one or the other of the two countries, shall be free to exercise the right accorded them by the present convention throughout the whole of the district for which they may be respectively appointed. The said functionaries shall be admitted and recognized respectively upon presenting their credentials in accordance with the rules and formalities established in their respective countries. The exequatur required for the free exercise of their official duties shall be delivered to them free of charge; and upon exhibiting such exequatur they shall be admitted at once and without interference by the authorities, Federal or State, judicial or executive, of the ports, cities and places of their residence and district, to the enjoyment of the prerogatives reciprocally granted.
The Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls and Consular Agents, their chancellors, and other Consular Officers, if they are citizens of the State which appoints them, shall be exempt from military billetings, from service in the military or the national guard, and other duties of the same nature, and from all direct and personal taxation, whether federal, state or municipal, provided they be not owners of real estate, and neither carry on trade nor any industrial business.
If, however, they are not citizens of the State which appoints them or if they are citizens of the State in which they reside, or if they own property, or engage in any business there that is taxed under any laws of the country, then they shall be subject to the same taxes, charges and assessments as other private individuals. They shall, moreover, enjoy personal immunities, except for acts regarded as crimes by the laws of the country in which they reside. If they are engaged in commerce, personal detention can be resorted to in their case only for commercial liabilities, and then in accordance only with general laws, applicable to all persons alike.
Consuls-General, Consuls and their Chancellors, Vice-Consuls and Consular Officers, if citizens of the country which appoints them, shall not be summoned to appear as witnesses before a court of justice, except when, pursuant to law, the testimony of a consul may be necessary for the defence of a person charged with crime. In other cases the local court, when it deems the testimony of a Consul necessary, shall either go to his dwelling to have the testimony taken orally, or shall send there a competent officer to reduce it to writing, or shall ask of him a written declaration.
Consuls-Generals, Consuls, Vice-Consuls and Consular Agents shall be at liberty to place over the chief entrance of their respective offices the arms of their nation, with the inscription: " Consulate-General ", " Consulate ", " Vice-Consulate " or " Consular Agency ", as may be. They shall also be at liberty to hoist the flag of their country on the consular edifice, except when they reside in a city where the legation of their Government may be established. They shall also be at liberty to hoist their flag on board the vessel employed by them in port for the discharge of their duty.
The consular archives shall be at all times inviolable, and under no presence whatever shall the local authorities be allowed to examine or seize the papers forming part of them.
In the event of incapacity, absence, or death of Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls, their Consular Pupils, Chancellors or Secretaries, whose official character may have been previously made known to the respective authorities in the United States, or in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, shall be admitted at once to the temporary exercise of the consular functions, and they shall, for the duration of it, enjoy all the immunities, rights and privileges conferred upon them by the convention.
Consuls-General and Consuls shall have the power to appoint Vice-Consuls and Consular Agents in the cities, ports and towns within their consular districts, subject, however, to the approbation of the Government of the country where they reside. These Vice-Consuls and Consular Agents may be selected indiscriminately from among citizens of the two countries or from foreigners, and they shall be furnished with a commission issued by the appointing Consul, under whose orders they are to be placed. They shall enjoy the privileges and liberties stipulated in this convention. To Vice-Consuls and to Consular Agents who are not citizens of the State which appoints them, the privileges and immunities specified in Article II. shall not extend.
Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents of the two countries may, in the exercise of their duties, apply to the authorities within their district, whether federal or local, judicial or executive, in the event of any infraction of the treaties and conventions between the two countries; also for the purpose of protecting the rights of their countrymen. Should the said authorities fail to take due notice of their application, they shall be at liberty, in the absence of any diplomatic representative of their country, to apply to the Government of the country where they reside.
Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents of the two countries, also their chancellors, shall have the right to take at their office, at the residence of the parties, or on board ship. the depositions of the captains and crews of vessels of their own nation, of passengers on board of them, of merchants, or any other citizens of their own country. They shall have the power also to receive and verify, conformably to the laws and regulations of their country: 1st. Wills and bequests of their countrymen, and all such acts and contracts between their countrymen as are intended to be drawn up in an authentic form, and verified. 2nd. Any and all acts of agreement entered upon between citizens of their own country and inhabitants of the country where they reside. All such acts of agreement, and other instruments, and also copies thereof, when duly authenticated by such Consul-General, Consul, Vice-Consul or Consular Agent under his official seals, shall be received in courts of justice as legal documents, or as authenticated copies, as the case may be, and shall have the same force and effect as if drawn up by competent public officers of one or the other of the two countries. Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents of the respective countries shall have the power to translate and legalize all documents issued by the authorities or functionaries of their own country, and such papers shall have the same force and effect in the country where the aforesaid officers reside as if drawn up by sworn interpreters.
Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents shall be at liberty to go on board the vessels of their nation admitted to entry' either in person or by proxy, and to examine the captain and crew, to look into the register of the ship, to receive declarations with reference to their voyage, their destination, and the incidents of the voyage; also, to draw up manifests, lists of freight, to assist in despatching their vessels, and finally to accompany the said captains or crews before the courts and before the administrative authorities, in order to act as their interpreters or agents in their business transactions or applications of any kind. The judicial authorities and custom-house officials shall in no case proceed to the examination or search of merchant vessels without previous notice to the consular authority of the nation to which the said vessels belong, in order to enable them to be present.
They shall also give due notice to Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents, in order to enable them to be present at any depositions or statements to be made in courts of law, or before local magistrates. bv captains or persons composing the crew, thus to prevent errors or false interpretations which might impede the correct administration of Justice.
The notice of Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents shall name the hour fixed for such proceedings, and upon the non-appearance of the said officers or their representatives, the case shall be proceeded with in their absence.
Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents, shall have exclusive charge of the internal order of the merchant vessels of their nation. They shall have therefore the exclusive power to take cognizance of and to settle all differences which may arise at sea or in port between captains, officers and crews in reference to wages and the execution of mutual contracts: subject in each case to the laws of their own nation. The local authorities shall in no way interfere, except in cases where the differences on board ship are of a nature to disturb the peace and public order in port or on shore, or when persons other than the officers and crew of the vessel are parties to the disturbance, except as aforesaid' the local authorities shall confine themselves to the rendering of forcible assistance if required by the Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents, and shall cause the arrest, temporary imprisonment and removal on board his own vessel of every person whose name is found on the muster-rolls or register of the ship or list of the crew.
Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents, shall have the power to cause the arrest of all sailors or all other persons belonging to the crews of vessels of their nation who may be guilty of having deserted on the respective territories of the high contracting Powers, and to have them sent on board or back to their native country. To that end they shall make a written application to the competent local authority, supporting it by the exhibition of the ship's register and list of the crew, or else, should the vessel have sailed previously, by producing an authenticated copy of these documents, showing that the persons claimed really do belong to the ship's crew. Upon such request the surrender of the deserter shall not be refused. Every aid and assistance shall, moreover, be granted to the said consular authorities for the detection and arrest of deserters, and the latter shall be taken to the prisons of the country and there detained at the request and expense of the consular authority until there may be an opportunity for sending them away. The duration of this imprisonment shall not exceed the term of three months, at the expiration of which time, and upon three days' notice to the consul, the prisoner shall be set free, and he shall not be liable to re-arrest for the same cause. Should, however, the deserter have committed on shore an indictable offence, the local authorities shall be free to postpone his extradition until due sentence shall have been passed and executed. The high contracting parties agree that seamen, or other individuals forming part of the ship's crew, who are citizens of the country in which the desertion took place, shall not be affected by the provisions of this article.
In all cases where no other agreement to the contrary exists between owners, freighters and insurers, all damages suffered at sea by the vessels of the two countries, whether they enter the respective ports voluntarily or by stress of weather, shall be settled by the Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents of their respective nation, provided no interests of citizens of the country where the said functionaries reside, nor of citizens of a third Power are concerned. In that case, and in the absence of a friendly compromise between all parties interested, the adjudication shall take place under supervision of the local authorities.
In the event of a vessel belonging to the Government, or owned by a citizen of one of the two contracting States, being wrecked or cast on shore upon the coast of the other, the local authorities shall inform the Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents of the district of the occurrence, or if such Consular Agency does not exist, they shall communicate with the Consul-General, Consul, Vice-Consul or Consular Agent of the nearest district.
All proceedings relative to the salvage of American vessels wrecked or cast on shore in Austro-Hungarian waters shall be directed by the United States Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents; also all proceedings relative to the salvage of Austro-Hungarian vessels wrecked or cast on shore in American waters, shall be directed by Austro-Hungarian Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents.
All interference of the local authorities in the two countries shall take place for the purpose only of assisting the consular authorities in maintaining order and protecting the rights of salvers not belonging to the crew; also for enforcing the regulations relative to the import or export of the merchandise saved.
In the absence and until the arrival of the Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls or Consular Agents, or their duly appointed delegates, the local authorities shall take all the necessary measures for the protection of persons and preservation of the property saved from the wreck.
No charges shall be made for the interference of the local authorities in such cases, except for expenses incurred through salvage and the preservation of property saved, also for those expenses which, under similar circumstances, vessels belonging to the country where the wreck happens would have to incur.
In case of a doubt concerning the nationality of the wrecks, the local authorities shall have exclusively the management and execution of the provisions laid down in the present article.
The high contracting parties also agree that all merchandise and goods not destined for consumption in the country in which the wreck takes place shall be free of all duties.
Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls and Consular Agents, also Consular Pupils, Chancellors and Consular Officers shall enjoy in the two countries all the liberties, prerogatives, immunities and privileges granted to functionaries of the same class of the most favored nation.
In case of the death of a citizen of the United States in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, or of a citizen of the Austro Hungarian Monarchy in the United States, without having any known heirs or testamentary executors by him appointed, the competent local authorities shall inform the Consuls or Consular Agents of the State to which the deceased belonged of the circumstance, in order that the necessary information may be immediately forwarded to the parties interested.
The present convention shall remain in force for the space of ten years from the date of the exchange of the ratifications, which shall be made in conformity with the respective constitutions of the two countries, and exchanged at Washington within the period of ten months, or sooner, if possible.(1)
In case neither of the contracting parties gives notice before the expiration of the said term of his intention not to renew this convention, it shall remain in force a year longer, and so on, from Year year, until the expiration of a year from the day on which one of the parties shall have given such notice.
In testimony whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed this convention, and hereunto affixed their respective seals.
Done in duplicate at Washington, the eleventh day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy.
[SEAL.] HAMILTON FISH
Treaties, Conventions, International Acts and Agreements Between the United States of America and Other Powers 1776-1909.
Compiled by William M. Malloy
Under Resolution of the Senate of January 18, 1909
Washington : Government Printing Office, 1910.