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356. The foregoing paragraph applies only to property and effects of the seaman on board of the vessel. If such seaman or apprentice dies at any place out of the United States, leaving money or effects not on board of his ship, the Consular Officer at or nearest the place shall claim and take charge of such money and effects, and may sell all or any of them. The Consul must quarterly remit to the judge of the district courts of the ports from which the ships may have sailed, or the ports where the voyages terminate, all moneys belonging to, or arising from, the sale of the effects, or paid as wages of any deceased seaman or apprentice which may have come into his hands (Form No. 86), and must render such accounts thereof as the district judge may require. (See Appendix IV, as to manrer of remitting.)
357. Seamen's or apprentices' wages and effects in cases embraced in sections 4538 and 4539 of the Revised Statutes may be delivered and paid to the Consul of the foreign port where the vessel may touch or remain, if the Consul so requires, the Consul giving a receipt there for to the master, who shall produce it to the shipping commissioner. And the Consul must remit, in pursuance of section 4541, to the district judge for the district embracing the port from which the vessel sailed, or the port where the voyage terminates, all moneys belonging to or arising from the sale of the ef fects or paid as wages of any deceased seaman or apprentice which have come into his hands. Consuls must confine themselves to the literal execution of the law. In rendering accounts for such wages or effects, it is not enough to give the gross proceeds. Such accounts must show in detail the amount of money left by the deceased, the sum due to him as wages, and the deductions, if any, to be made therefrom; and, in case of sale of the effects, a description of each article sold, and the sum received for each, as is required of the master to be entered in the log under section 4538. For this purpose the Consul will require a similar account from the master.
358. When, however, the deceased seaman was a foreigner, and was shipped in a foreign port, it is believed that the wages and effects should be delivered to the Consular
Effects not on
R. S., sec. 4541.
R. S, secs. 4538, 4539.
Wages, &c., of a foreign seaman.
Argentine Repub lic and Colombia.
Officer. The latter should make proper inquiries to find the relatives of the deceased, and may determine for himself to whom the wages and effects should be given. If no relatives are found, the wages and money arising from the sale of the effects should be remitted to the district judge, as above provided for.
359. The foregoing provisions of statute assume that Consular Officers of the United States may collect and transmit the assets of deceased citizens. It should be understood, however, that they have no jurisdiction in regard to such property, unless it is permitted, and only so far as it is permitted, by the authorities of the country, or is accorded by established usage, or is provided for by treaty or the laws of the country. It is the duty of a Consular Officer to acquaint himself fully with the extent of his privileges and rights in this respect, and, if there be treaty stipulations, with the proceedings to be taken under them.
360. By treaties with Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands (including the colonies), Roumania, and Servia, it is made the duty of the local authorities to advise the Consular Officer of the death of a citizen of the United States in order that the necessary information may immediately be given to the parties interested. In Germany, Roumania, and Servia the Consular Officer may also appear in person or by delegate in all proceedings, in behalt of the absent or minor heirs or creditors, until they are duly represented.
361. Consular Officers in the Agentine Confederation may, when any citizen of the United States dies within their respective jurisdictions, intervene in the possession, administration, and judicial liquidation of his estate, conformably with the laws of the country. The proceedings in such case must be in the ordinary courts of the country, unless waived by the local authorities. In Colombia a Consular Officer has the right to take possession of the effects of a deceased citizen, and to make inventories and appoint appraisers. In his proceedings he is required to act in conjunction with two merchants, chosen by himself, and in accordance with the laws of the United States and with the instructions he may receive from his own Government. The discharge of these
functions, however, is not permitted in those States in which the local legislation prohibits it.
Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicara
362. By treaties with Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua, a Consular Officer is authorized to nominate a curator qua to take charge of the property of the deceased, so far as the laws of the country will permit, for the benefit of the lawful heirs and creditors, giving proper notice of the nomination to the authorities of the country. In Paraguay he may designate an executor or administrator, and may take charge of the decedent's property until this is done.
363. In Morocco a Consular Officer may take possession of the effects, in the want of a will, until the legal representative appears. If the heir is present, the property is to be delivered to him; and if a will appear, the property is to descend by it as soon as the Consular Officer shall have declared its validity. And in Muscat the Consular Officer may receive the property and send it to the heirs, after the payment of all debts due to the subjects of the Sultan. By treaty with Persia the effects are to be delivered to the family or partners; but if there be no relatives or partners, then to the Consular Officer, to be disposed of according to the laws of the United States. By treaty with Tripoli the property of a decedent is to be placed under the immediate direction of the Consular Officer, without interference from the Government or the subjects of the country. And in Tunis the Consular Officer has the right to the possession of the effects without interference by the local government. In Turkey the Consular jurisdiction over the property of deceased citizens is conceded by established usage under treaty.
364. By treaty with Peru, a Consular Officer is made ex officio the executor or administrator of the property of citizens of the United States dying within his district, and that of his countrymen who die at sea, which may be brought to his district. He is required to make an inventory of the property conjointly with a local judicial officer, but the effects are to remain in his hands, with authority to sell the perishable part and to dispose of the remainder according to the instructions of his Government. If the deceased was engaged in business, the property is to be held for twelve cal
Persia, Tripoli, Tu
nis, and Turkey.
In non-Christian Countries.
Personal proper. ty alone concern. 1.
endar months, during which time creditors may present their claims. All questions between the Consular Officer and creditors are to be determined by the local laws; but if no claim is presented, the Consular Officer may close the estate and dispose of the effects and property according to the instructions of his Government. (See note.)
NOTE.—The treaty of September 6, 1870, with Peru was terminated on the 31st of March, 1886, by notice given by Peru March 31, 1835. But amicable relations still exist between the two Governments, and it is believed that the provisions embodied in the paragraph above will still be observed.
365. In San Salvador a Consular Officer has the right to nominate curators to take charge of the property, so far as the laws of the country will permit, for the benefit of heirs and creditors, giving proper notice of such nomination to the authorities of the country. He has the right to take possession of the personal and real estate. He is required to make an inventory conjointly with two merchants, and to publish the death in a newspaper of the country. It is his duty to collect all debts due the deceased in the country and to pay the debts due from him. He may sell the perishable part of the property, and such other part as may be necessary to pay the debts; but he is prohibited from paying any claim, not reduced to a judgment, for damages for any wrongful act of the deceased. When there is no Consular Officer present, the local authorities are to receive the property and to notify the nearest Consular Officer.
366. In China, Japan, Madagascar, Siam, Turkey, and other non-Christian countries, the property of decedents, both personal and real, is administered under the probate jurisdiction of the Consular courts in those countries, without interference in any respect by the local governments.
367. The statutes of the United States above referred to. imposing duties upon Consular Officers respecting the property of citizens dying abroad, are held to relate wholly to personal property, and not to real estate. The exception in regard to non-Christian countries is necessarily incident to the peculiar laws and institutions of those countries as regards foreigners and the jurisdiction of the Consular courts
established under the laws of the United States. In Christian countries the disposition of real property depends altogether upon the laws of the country, unless there be treaty stipulations conferring jurisdiction upon Consular Officers, or such jurisdiction is established by usage or local law. In the absence of these, the authorities of the country are alone competent to determine questions of inheritance and succession, and a Consular Officer has no right to intervene beyond a proper watchfulness of the proceedings in the interest of the absent legal representative.
368. A Consular Officer is, however, by the law of nations and by statute, the provisional conservator of the property within his district belonging to his countrymen deceased therein. He has no right, as a Consular Officer, apart from the provisions of treaty, local law, or from usage, to administer on the estate, or in that character to aid any other person in so administering it, without judicial authorization. His duties are restricted to guarding and collecting the effects, and to transmitting them to the United States, or to aid others in so guarding, collecting, and transmitting them, to be disposed of pursuant to the law of the decedent's State. It.is, however, generally conceded that a Consular Officer may intervene by way of observing the proceedings, and that he may be present on the making of the inventory. In all cases where jurisdiction is not distinctly and by due authority conferred upon the Consul, it will be safer for him to confine his acts to the custody of the property and its preservation for the purpose of being surrendered into the hands of those who are legally entitled to it, but in such a way as not to involve him in legal liability to them.
369. For the information of the representatives of the deceased, the Consul is directed to cause a notice of the death of every citizen of the United States, other than a seaman belonging to any ship or vessel, dying intestate within his Consular district, to be published in some newspaper of the country, and also to forward a like notice to the Department of State, that the same may be published in the State to which the deceased belonged; he will also communicate any information which he may have obtained re765 C R 9
Position of Con
Relations to be informed.