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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the fiftieth Congress, 1888-'90
(1888-1889)

Austria-Hungary,   pp. 18-23 PDF (2.3 MB)


Page 18


                     AUSTRIA-HUNGARY.
                                No. 16.
                       Mr. Porter to Mr. Lawton.,
No. 5.4                              DEPARTM1ENT OF STATE,
                                        Washington, September 8, 1887.
  SIR: I inclose herewith for your information a copy of a dispatch to
this Department from Mr. von Versen, the American vice-consul-gen-
eral at Berlin, relative to the treaty recently concluded between Aus-
tria and the German Empire in relation. to the right to sue in forma
1jauperis; also a copy of the Department's instruction to Mr. Pendle-
toni, our minister at Berlin, in regard to the subject, called out by Mr.
von Versen's suggestion as to the propriety of negotiating a similar
treaty between the United States and the German Empire.
   The question of how far foreigners can sue in forma pauperis is de-
termined by the lexfori, which, under our Constitution, it is not within
the province of the Federal Government to settle by any general law.
As a mere matter of practice, however, it may be mentioned that there
are, so far as this Department is informed, nojurisdictions in the United
States in which an alien, as such, is precluded from suing in .forma
pauperis. In view of the fact that such a convention is apparently nec-
essary to give Germans in Austria the right to sue in forma pauperis,
you may, as a matter of interest, inquire and report how far the privi-
lege of so suing is granted to American citizens bringing suit in Austria.
       I am, etc.
                                             JAlIES D. PORTER,
                                                     Acting Secretary.
                             fInclosure 1 in No. 5.]
                        Mr. von Versen to Mr. Porter.
No. 274.]                         UNITED STATES CONSULATE-GENERAL,
                                                    Berlin, August 6, 1887.
  SIR: It occurs frequently that either United States citizens or subjects
of the Ger-
  man States for lack of means are unable to commence and prosecute lawsuits
against
  parties domiciled on the other side of the Atlantic, and this sometimes
in lawsuits
  likely to turn out in their favor.
  Under the laws of the German States, persons whose poverty is proven by
certifi-
  cates from the local authorities of their domicile, enjoy the privilege
to commence and
  prosecute lawsuits within Germany free of cost, and being dispensed with
depositing
  court's cost in advance.
  This privilege has now been extended, by a convention concluded on the
9th day of
  May, 1886, and ratified this year, to the subjects of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire,
  and vice versa by Austria-Hungary to the subjects of the several German
States.
  Considering the variety of relations between the United States and Germany-
  hardly less numerous than those between the German and Austrian States-it
would,
  in my opinion, be of great benefit to many of our citizens who have not
the means to
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