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File No. 895.00/539.
No. 1296.]

AMERICAN EMBASSY,

Tokyo, February 7, 1911. Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of my note (No. 525) to the minister for foreign affairs, dated the 2d instant, on the subject of the transfer to the proper courts at Seoul of criminal proceedings against American citizens in Chosen; also a copy of the note (No. 6) in reply, dated the 6th instant. These notes, in conjunction with my telegram of yesterday I will put the Department in possession of the manner in which the matter has been disposed of. I venture to hope that my action will have the approval of the Department. I have, etc.,

T. J. O'BRIEN.

to. 8 nst American he proper counted the 20 note (No.

(Inclosure 1.)
The American Ambassador to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

No. 525.]

AMERICAN EMBASSY,

Tokyo, February 2, 1911. EXCELLENCY: Referring to your excellency's note of November 29 last, on the subject of the procedure in Chosen in cases in which American citizens are concerned, being a reply to my note to you on the same subject, dated October 14 preceding.

Within the last few days I have discussed informally with you the subject matter of this correspondence, and only yesterday had a conversation with Mr. Ishii, vice minister. In your note in question, you told me that on the 28th of November the governor general of Chosen issued a decree, which reads as follows:

The governor general of Chosen, whenever he deems it specially necessary, may order that criminal cases coming within the competence of one district or local court shall be dealt with by another court of the same grade.

This decree falls short of what was suggested in my note of October 14, above referred to, and some change or modification has been discussed by us. As a result, I understand that while the Imperial Government prefers to leave the decree in question undisturbed and unchanged, you are nevertheless willing formally to say in writing that in any case where an American citizen is charged with a criminal offense in any part of Chosen, the procedure against him shall, on his request to the court or magistrate before whom the same is pending, be transferred for further proceedings or trial to the proper court at Seoul having jurisdiction of the subject matter of the charge.

In view of the fact that the decree was made by the governor general, no doubt you will wish that he join in the foregoing. The matter will thus become one of record not only in your excellency's department in Tokyo, but also in the archives of the Government General at Seoul. In this way the arrangement, while limited in its application, will still be of as high an authority as the decree and other regulations made by the Government General in that territory.

Upon receiving your excellency's reply, conforming to my understanding, as outlined above, I shall be glad to make known to my Government its character, and shall also advise that it be considered acceptable. I avail, etc.,

T. J. O'BRIEN.

(Inclosure 2.] The Minister of Foreign Affairs to the American Ambassador. No. 6.)

FOREIGN OFFICE,

Tokyo, February 6, 1911. MR. AMBASSADOR : I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your excellency's note of the 2d instant, on the subject of the transfer to the proper courts at

* Not printed.

Seoul of criminal proceedings which may be instituted against American citizens in Chosen.

I have duly referred to the governor general of Chosen your excellency's suggestion contained in the note under acknowledgment, and the Imperial Goyernment are entirely prepared to give the desired assurance, having in view the existing state of things in the new territory, that in any case where an American citizen is charged with a criminal offense in any part of Chosen the governor general, in the exercise of the authority provided for in the decree of November 28, 1910, will order, at the request of the accused, that the procedure against the latter be transferred to the proper court at Seoul having jurisdiction of the subject matter of the charge. It is confidently hoped that the foregoing assurance will be found satisfactory by the American Government, as well as by your excellency. I avail, etc.,

Count KOMURA. File No. 895.52/3. No. 1297.]

AMERICAN EMBASSY,

Tokyo, February 7, 1911. Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of my note (No. 526) to the minister for foreign affairs, of the 2d instant, on the subject of the rights of American citizens claiming title to real property in Chosen (Korea); also a copy of the note in reply to the foregoing, dated the 4th instant. From these it will appear that the Japanese Government has acceded to our wishes as fully as could be fairly expected.

The records of title now on file in the office of our consul general at Seoul will be treated as prima facie evidence of good title in the claimant. As they were obtained for the most part ex parte it would be hardly fair to ask this Government, acting in an administrative way, judicially to pass upon the validity of the claimants' rights. The latter will therefore find it necessary, as against another American or other person, to defend his title, having in advance the advantage of a prima facie title. The advice of the minister to have these titles passed upon now, and thereby to be made conclusive, should in my opinion be followed, and I will so advise Mr. Scidmore, consul general, upon receiving from the Department authority to do so. I have, etc.,

T. J. O'BRIEN.

[Inclosure.] The American Ambassador to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. No. 526.)

AMERICAN EMBASSY,

Tokyo, February 2, 1911. YOUR EXCELLENCY: Referring to Mr. Schuyler's note to you No. 515 of December 15 last, with regard to investigations of land titles in Korea, I do not recall that any reply has been received, but the matter has been informally discussed between your excellency and myself within the past few days.

Your excellency will have observed from Mr. Schuyler's note that a large number of American citizens have heretofore filed with the American consulate general at Seoul certain evidences of title to different parcels of land, and these records, being accessible to all concerned, constitute, I suppose, for the most part the muniments of title of the parties in interest.

As a result of our conversation it was understood that these records should in all courts and places be treated as prima facie evidence of title. May I ask that your excellency will state in reply whether or not I have a correct understanding of our informal agreement. I avail, etc.,

T, J. O'BBIEN.

[Subinclosure.]

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to the American Ambassador.

[Translation.] No. 5.]

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIBS,

Tokyo, February 4, 1911. Mr. AMBASSADOR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the note of December 15 last addressed to me by Mr. Schuyler, then chargé d'affaires of the United States, on the subject of the law relating to the investigation of land in Chosen.

The Government General of Chosen, to which I referred Mr. Schuyler's communication under acknowledgment, now inform me that, in full appreciation of the friendly sentiment expressed in that note, they have submitted the ques. tion in all its phases to a careful examination. They desire in the first place to explain that the law in question is intended to set at rest all apprehensions and misgivings which rightful owners of land in Chosen naturally feel in the enjoyment of such property, considering the dubiousness and confusion which actually exist there in the system of land tenure. The formalities complied with under the Korean ordinance of 1906 relating to the certification of land and buildings are not sufficiently effective to realize the desired end. While such certification is sufficiently conclusive as between the parties to the agree. ment which it attests, it has been held at the courts of law to be unavailable as against bona fide third parties, who may therefore come forward at any moment with claims on the certified land, wholly or partially denying the effects of the certification. To prevent purchasers or mortgagees of land against those unexpected claims, and to afford them suitable guarantees for the future, it has been found essential to institute a thorough investigation of all lands in Chosen, in spite of considerable expenses and labor for the Government General which the undertaking naturally involves. In consequence of such investigation the ownership and boundary of each lot will be confirmed and established beyond all controversy.

It is pointed out in Mr. Schuyler's note that the measures contemplated by the Government General of Chosen entirely ignore the fact that the American Consulate general at Seoul keeps in its archives accurate records of the purchase of lands by American citizens. I am assured by the Government General that such consular records, far from being ignored, will be taken as establishing prima facie presumption in favor of those who are therein duly recorded. It would, however, seem impracticable that they should be regarded as conclusive to the exclusion of all claims which the subjects or citizens of other nationalities may advance upon the production of cogent evidence in regard to the items contained in those records. In case such claims are advanced, and if all attempts of the authorities concerned to reach a friendly adjustment between the parties in interest fall through, it will be the duty of the president of the land investigation board to decide the questions at issue, upon an exhaustive examination of the case, it being understood that the consular records will be presumed to be valid unless rebutted. If either party is not satisfied with the decision of the president of the land investigation board, it is open to him to take appeal to the high commission of land investigation, presided over by the governor general and composed of judges and high officials. It will thus be observed that due weight will be attached to the consular records in question, and that the new law is designed to assure and safeguard, instead of interfering with, the rights of landowners in Chosen.

I am further informed by the Government General that in regard to lands duly recorded in the American consular archives, the production of certified copies of such records will be held a valid application for investigation provided for in Article V of the law. Those certified copies shall be tendered either to the competent officials dispatched to the spot or to the central office of the land investigation board at Seoul. As regards the period within which such procedure should be taken, due notice will be given to holders of lots concerned or their agents.

Concerning Article VI, the owners of lots recorded in the consular archives will not be called upon to be present at the spot of the actual investigation, except when it is found impossible to identify the location of the lots thus recorded. In any case, however, it would be advisable for them to appear spontaneously either in person or by agents, as such attendance will facilitate them in the defense of their undoubted rights.

It has already been remarked that the provisions of Articles VII and VIII, to which reference is made in Mr. Schurier's nete, in regani to decisions of the president of the land-investigation board, and to appeals to the high commis. sion, do not imply any undue interference with the rights of landowners On the contrary, those provisions are beliered, in the actual state of things in the new territory, to secure the most satisfactory and efficient working of the investigation, while insuring protection of the property rights legally acquired in Chosen

As regards the observations made by the American chargé d'affaires in reier. ence to Article XII concerning the penalty for nonconformity with the require ments prescribed in Articles V and VI, the qualifications of the terms of Article XII by the words “ without proper reasons ” would be sufficiently assuring to persons who, on account of some justifiable grounds, may be prerented from complying with the provisions of the law. Besides, in view of the liberal treat. ment to be accorded, as above stated, to the holders of lots recordet in the consular archives, in respect of the requirements under Articles and VI, it is expected that the application of penalty to those holders will be practically out of the question.

Having regard to the foregoing considerations the Imperial Government are unable to find anything in the measures thus contemplated by the Government General of Chosen which would unjustly cause inconvenience or hardship to American landowners, and they confidently hope that in the light of the abore explanations pour excellency may be persuaded of the advisability for American citizens of prompt compliance with the law in question for the lasting security of their rights as well as for the common weal of all those who are legally interested in landed property in Chosen. I avail, etc.,

COUNT KOMURA.

File No. 895.52/4.

Tokyo, April 8, 1911.

AMERICAN EMBASSY, SIR: Referring to recent correspondence concerning the land-investigation law of Chosen, I have the honor to transmit herewith copies of self-explanatory letters, dated March 20 and April 4, as received from the consul general at Seoul. I have, etc.,

(For Mr. O'Brien.)

MONTGOMERY SCHUILER.

(Inciosure 1.)
The American Consul General to the American Ambassador.

No. 2139e.]

AMERICAN CONSULATE GENERAL,

Seoul, March 20, 1911. SIR: Referring to my No. 1754 E of December 9, 1910, and to your C. No. 1514 01 February 7, 1911, relating to the land investigation ordinance of August 24, 1910, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a letter from the director of the bureau of foreign affairs of the Government General of Chosen, together with a copy and translation of its inclosure. It will be noted that the promises made in Count Komura's note of February 4, 1911, are substantially carried out thereby.

I have therefore the honor to request that I be informed whether I shall notify American citizens holding land to comply with the provisions of the ordinance in question, I have, etc.,

Geo. H. SCIDMORE.

(Inclosure 2.) The Director of the Bureau of Foreign Affairs to the American Consul General. No. 26.)

GOVERNMENT GENERAL OF CHOSEN,

Keijo, March 18, 1911. SIR: An instruction has been given to the officials concerned concerning among others the acceptance of copy of consular registration as the information re

44773°-F B 1911- 27

quired to be submitted by landowners under the land-Investigation law and the detailed regulations relating to its enforcement.

I have the honor to send you herewith inclosed a Japanese copy of the above instruction which you may notify to your nationals whom it may concern. I have, etc.,

M. KOMATZU.

[Subinclosure-Translation.)

INSTRUCTIONS TO OFFICIALS.

1. Although the report in Article V of the investigation law should follow the form described in the detailed regulations, if a former resident's land certificate or copy, or copy of a foreign consular land record be presented in lieu thereof by a landholder, such copy shall be considered as a report and accepted, and regular report need not be presented.

2. Although Article VI of the investigation law provides for the actual presence of the landowner or his representative whenever the investigation official deems it necessary to ask for their presence, in case the presence of a landowner or his representative living at a distance is requested, investigation may be made with the presence of the heads of a town or village or other general representative of landholders who thoroughly understands the land of the district. Only in case the location or boundaries of the land are not clear without the actual presence of the landholder or his representative living at a distance shall they be summoned. Care shall be taken not to cause hardship to à landowner or his representative living at a distance. In case the presence of a landowner or his representative is requested, suitable time allowance should be made for mails and other circumstances.

EXTRADITION OF CRIMINALS FROM AND TO THE PHILIPPINE

ISLANDS

File No. 211.94/3.
The American Ambassador to the Secretary of State.

[Telegram.]

Tokyo, August 14, 1911. Governor-General Forbes asks me to cause arrest here and hold for extradition a Filipino charged with murder. The Japanese Government requests me to state, before acting, that the Philippine Islands are to be considered within our extradition treaty.

O'BRIEN.

The Secretary of State to the American Ambassador.

(Telegram.]

WASHINGTON, August 16, 1911. The extradition provisions of the Revised Statutes are extended to the Philippine Islands by the act of February 6, 1905, Statutes at Large, volume 33, page 698; it provides that extradition to and from the islands shall be made pursuant to provisions of regular extradition treaties between the United States and other countries.

KNOX.

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