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BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington, January 24, 1927. The SECRETARY OF STATE.
MY DEAR MR. SECRETARY: I have your letter of January 21, 1927, transmitting copy of a proposed report to the President recommend ing that Congress be requested to authorize an appropriation in the sum of $1,100 in payment of two claims presented by the Chinese Government for the negligent and unlawful acts in China of persons connected with the military and naval forces of the United States (being $1,000 for the benefit of the family of Chang Lin who was killed by a member of the Fifteenth United States Infantry at Leichuan, China, on May 4, 1923, and $100 to the father of Tong Huan Yah, alleged to have been killed by members of the crew of the U. S. S. Elcano engaged in target practice at Hankow, China, on March 26, 1923), and asking that I indicate whether the action proposed in the report is in harmony with the financial policy of the President.
In reply I have to advise you that the proposed request for legislation authorizing an appropriation of $1,100 for the purpose stated is not in conflict with the financial program of the President. Sincerely yours,
H. M. LORD, Director.
CLAIM OF RICHARD L. SPRAGUE, AMERICAN CONSUL
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
REPORT FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE RELATIVE TO THE CLAIM OF MR. RICHARD L. SPRAGUE, AMERICAN CONSUL AT GIBRALTAR, FOR BEIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED BY HIM IN PROVIDING RELIEF FOR THE CREW OF THE AMERICAN STEAMER "KANABEC"
JANUARY 4, 1928.- Read; referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, and
ordered to be printed
To the Congress of the United States:
I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State in relation to the claim of Mr. Richard L. Sprague, American consul at Gibraltar, for reimbursement for expenses incurred by him in providing relief for the crew of the American steamer Kanabec. I recommend that the Congress authorize an appropriation and that an appropriation be made to effect a settlement of this claim in accordance with the recommendations of the Secretary of State
CALVIN COOLIDGE. THE WHITE HOUSE,
Washington, January 4, 1928.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 17, 1927. The PRESIDENT:
I have the honor to suggest that the claim of Mr. Richard L. Sprague, American consul at Gibraltar, as set forth in the ai companying statement of facts, be submitted to the Congress with the recommendation that, in all equity, it would seem fitting that that body should favorably consider relief legislation for Mr. Sprague.
Copies of the correspondence on file in the department are not transmitted herewith for the reason that they have been summarized in the statement submitted with this letter. All or any part of the correspondence will, of course, be furnished should the Congress so desire.
It will be noted from the inclosed copy of a communication from the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, to whom the matter was referred, that the proposed action is not in conflict with the financial program of the President. Respectfully,
FRANK B. KELLOGG. The PRESIDENT,
The White House.
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington, Norember 30, 1927. MY DEAR MR. SECRETARY: I have from Assistant Secretary of State Carr his letter of June 28, 1927, and subsequent correspondence from the State Department, relative to securing relief from Congress for the payment of expenses incurred by Richard L. Sprague, American consul at Gibraltar, in providing relief for the crew of the American steamer Kanabec.
This is a meritorious case which requires action by Congress before it can be settled and its presentation for legislative consideration toward authorizing an appropriation of the amount necessary will not be in conflict with the financial program of the President. Having in mind that Richard L. Sprague is not entitled to reimbursement for moneys exceeding those which he has actually expended in the settlement of this claim, I would suggest that the request for legislative relief be so worded as to authorize an appropriation for the reimbursement of Mr. Sprague for moneys which he advanced to the members of the crew of the Kanabec and money paid by him to Smith Imossi & Co., pursuant to the judgment of the Supreme Court of Gibraltar, dated April 17, 1926, and payment to Smith Imossi & Co. of the amount remaining unpaid under said judgment. This phase of the matter has been discussed with representatives of the State Department who, I am informed, concur therein. Sincerely yours,
H. M. LORD, Director. The SECRETARY OF STATE.
STATEMENT OF Facts BELIEVED TO JUSTIFY CONGRESSIONAL RELIEF
FOR Consul RICHARD L. SPRAGUE IN THE SUM OF $2,176.82
A claim in the sum of $2,176.82, submitted by Consul Richard L. Sprague to the Comptroller General of the United States with the administrative approval of the department, for expenditures made in the relief of American seamen from the steamer Kanabec at Gibraltar, in 1920, was disallowed. As the expenditures were made with a view to protecting American interests and destitute American seamen, and as the consul will be obliged to pay these expenditures out of his personal funds, it is felt that for equitable and humanitarian reasons, as well as in the interests of the morale of the Consular Service, the claim should be submitted to the Congress for consideration in the hope that an appropriation will be made reimbursing Consul Sprague.
The following statement of facts is respectfully submitted: The American steamer Kanabec, owned by the French-American Lines, arrived at Gibraltar about August 22, 1920, en route from Marseille to Philadelphia. When ready to sail, Smith Imossi & Co., , a local supply house, brought suit in the Gibraltar Admiralty Court and arrested the ship to obtain payment for supplies previously furnished. In the litigation, other claims, including those for wages to crew and officers, were set up and after judgment against the vessel, it was sold at auction in March, 1921, for £1,070 ($4,815.00 at the rate of exchange at that time).' As these proceeds, however, were used to defray court costs and other claims having legal priority, nothing was left for the payment of the crew's wages.
The consul at Gibraltar on October 7, 1920, cabled to this department that there was no coal on board for the vessel and crew, and unless the owners should act he requested authority to purchase coal, which was urgently needed.
The consul cabled on October 23, 1920, that in view of unsatisfactory sanitary conditions and for the safety of the vessel and the members of its crew, he had considered it necessary to buy 50 tons of coal and 60 tons of fresh water. He added that the crew would leave the vessel unless advances were made, and that the crew complained that allotments to their families had been suspended, so that the situation was critical.
The consul cabled on October 25, 1920, that the vessel had coal and water to last until the 10th of November, but that it had no stores nor slop chest, and that the captain was unable to obtain further supplies except for cash. The consul added that the crew might be returned to the United States as consular passengers provided a guaranty could be given that the balance of wages due them would be paid when they arrived in the United States and that provision must be made at once for the care of the crew.
On receipt of the foregoing information, the receiver for the French-American Lines, which owned the Kanabec, replied that he was making every effort to obtain funds.
On November 5 the consul cabled that judgment would probably be rendered within a few days to sell the Kanabec; that wages were due the crew and officers aggregating about $27,000; and that a desperate condition of affairs existed on the vessel.” He pointed out that the vessel was without coal, water, or provisions.
On November 9, 1920, the consul cabled that the crew was ashore, that there were no supplies on board, and that the crew were being treated as destitute American seamen.
On January 16, 1921, the consul cabled that the steamer had been put up for auction on three different occasions, and that no bidders had appeared at the reserve fixed by the court, £14,000. Mr. Sprague added that he had succeeded in repatriating 23 out of the crew of 39, and that he was endeavoring to repatriate the remainder, who were still destitute at Gilbraltar and were receiving Government relief. On January 22, 1921, Mr. Sprague cabled that he might arrange a postponement of the sale of the vessel for 15 days, in
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accordance with the request of the attorney for the receiver, if the American bondholders and creditors would put up bail for the pending auctions, for necessaries, and for the payment of the balance of the wages due the crew. He added that 16 members of the crew were still at Gibraltar receiving relief, because they refused to leave Gibraltar unless the full amount of their wages were paid. He added that the hotels where they were lodged demanded payment of board and lodging for crew, amounting to about £800 ($3,600), and that the vessel might still be put in condition so that it could sail within a few days, and that the remaining members of the crew might be induced to continue the voyage.
However, on January 15, 1921, the attorney for the receiver notified the department that in accordance with an order of the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York, the receiver had abandoned the steamer Kanabec to whomsoever might be interested therein and Consul Sprague was advised of this development.
On January 29, 1921, the department received a communication from the Consolidated Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, No 33, of 26 Park Place, New York City, stating that their organization had received a letter sent by the engineers of the steamship Kanabec, complaining of the inability of the crew to obtain their wages. The letter from the engineers read in part as follows:
"We are hanging on here, as we see no other way of doing anything. Some of the men have left with 25 per cent of their wages, but we can't see it that way.
“Can't the receivers be made to pay for the crew, as our dependents are starving and the consul refuses to advance any money? We have not received any money for seven months and no one takes any interest in us here. We are simply thrown ashore as destitute seamen. The ship has been up for sale three times and the ring will not let her be sold. It seems a made-up thing to do us out of our wages. This has been going on since the 22d of August. Will you kindly cable us instructions?"
Another letter, dated January 12, 1921, received by the department from the officers in charge of the ship reads in part as follows:
"On September 21, the ship was placed under arrest for the crew's wages and reimbursements by Capt. P. P. Taylor. The captain engaged J. Imossi lawyer for the crew. October 5 we ran out of coal and water. October 23 a large part of the crew went to the consul and asked for coal and water and the same was sent out to the ship that very afternoon. November 3 to November 8 we had very little to eat. November 5, without coal. November 9 all of the crew came ashore to live, as there was no more food on board the ship and was treated as destitute seamen.
The American counsul here is sending the men away, which will leave on 25 per cent of the wages and J. Imossi is paying the 25 per cent. I have $1,840 due me up to date. My wife and four children have only received three of the six allotments due her in the past seven and one-half months and they are in terrible circumstances. On December 8 she said she would have to sell the furniture and place the children in a charitable institute as she was unable to support them. We have not received one penny of our wages since August 17; it is a disgrace to the American Government. The American