In re Baiz
Annotate this Case
135 U.S. 403 (1890)
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U.S. Supreme Court
In re Baiz, 135 U.S. 403 (1890)
In re Baiz
No. 11, Original
Argued March 31, April 1, 1890
Decided May 5, 1890
135 U.S. 403
The Consul General of Guatemala and Honduras in New York, being a citizen of and resident in the United States, was accredited by the government of Honduras as its diplomatic representative here. The Secretary of State declined to receive him as such, on the ground that the immunities and privileges attaching to the office made it inconsistent and inconvenient that a citizen of the United States should "enjoy so anomalous a position." The Consul General then inquired whether the Department would regard him as charge d'affaires ad hoc of Honduras, without relieving him of his duties and responsibilities as a citizen, to which the Department replied that it could not recognize his agency as conferring
upon him any diplomatic status. A diplomatic representative was then accredited to the United States from Guatemala, Honduras and Salvador, and was received as such. Three years later, being about to temporarily absent himself from his post, this representative requested the Secretary of State "to allow that the Consul General of Guatemala and Honduras in New York," the same person still holding that office,
"should communicate to the office of the Secretary of State any matter whatever relating to the peace of Central America, which should without delay he presented to the knowledge of your Excellency."
The reply of the Secretary, directed to "The Consul General of Guatemala and Honduras," stated that he would "have pleasure in receiving any communication in relation to Central America of which you may be the channel as intimated," and notes were subsequently interchanged between him and the Department, and vice versa, until the arrival of an accredited diplomatic representative. Held that the Consul General of Guatemala and Honduras did not thereby become the diplomatic representative of Guatemala, Honduras, and Salvador during the absence of the regularly accredited representative, and that, in the absence of a certificate from the Secretary of State that he was such representative, he was not entitled to the immunity from suit except in this Court which is granted by the Constitution to such persons.