Maxims | International Wiki Legal Encyclopedia      Just another lawinorg site
Search in more than 1.500.000 entries

Koszta Affair

It was an important diplomatic incident. A Hungarian refugee to the United States, named Martin Koszta, obtained his “declaration of intentions” or first citizenship papers in 1850. He visited Smyrna in 1853 and was seized by members of the crew of the Austrian brig Huzar on 21 June. Captain Ingraham, of the American war sloop Saint Louis, under instructions from the American Minister at Constantinople, demanded his release. Hearing that the prisoner was to be transported secretly to Trieste, Captain Ingraham set a time limit to the surrender and made preparations to attack the Huzar on 2 July. The prisoner was surrendered. The Austrian government issued to the European courts a note of protest against the American procedure. Baron Hülsemann, Austrian Chargé d’Affaires at Washington, asked Secretary of State Marcy “to disavow the conduct of its agents . . . hasten to call them to a severe account and tender to Austria a satisfaction proportionate to the magnitude of the outrage,” claiming the arrested man to be an Austrian citizen and the action of Ingraham violative of international law. Marcy’s reply, within a month, declared Koszta was not a citizen of Austria but “that Koszta, when seized and imprisoned, was invested with the nationality of the United States, and they therefore had the right, if they chose to exercise it, to extend their protection to him; that from international law — the only law which can rightfully be appealed to for rules in this case — Austria could receive no authority to obstruct or interfere with the United States in the exercise of this right, in effecting the liberation of Koszta; and that Captain Ingraham’s interposition for his release was, under the extraordinary circumstances of the case, right and proper.” The Congress passed a joint resolution of thanks to Captain Ingraham and invested him with a medal in commemoration of his services. Consult ‘Correspondence between the Secretary of State and the Chargé d’Affaires of Austria relative to the Case of Martin Koszta’ (Washington 1853); Rhoades, J. F., ‘History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850’ (New York 1910), this contains a bibliography of the controversy.

Koszta Affair in the New International Encyclopædia

In American history the name applied to a diplomatic episode, involving the rights in foreign countries of emigrants to the United States as yet not fully naturalized. A certain Martin Koszta, of Hungarian birth, who had taken part in the political movement of 1848-49 for detaching Hungary from the dominion of the Emperor of Austria, and who had fled to Turkey upon the failure of that movement, emigrated to the United States after a short detention in Turkey, and in July, 1852, made a declaration under oath of his intention to become a citizen of the United States, at the same time renouncing all allegiance to any foreign power. After a residence of a year and eleven months he returned to Turkey on private business, and was placed under the protection of the United States by the American consul at Smyrna and the American chargé d’affaires ad interim at Constantinople. While waiting to return to the United States he was taken, by force, aboard the Austrian brig-of-war Huszár and confined there in chains. The American officials protested in vain both to the Turkish Government and to the Austrian officers, and finally on July 2, 1853, Captain Ingraham of the United States sloop-of-war Saint Louis, then lying in Smyrna harbor, threatened to open fire if Koszta was not surrendered to him by four o’clock. The Austrian consul-general then agreed that Koszta should be held by the consul-general of France until some agreement was reached. On August 29, 1853, Baron Hülsemann, the Austrian chargé d’affaires in Washington, wrote to Secretary of State Marcy, asking that the United States “disavow the conduct of its agents, . . . hasten to call them to a severe account, and tender to Austria a satisfaction proportionate to the outrage,” basing his request on the ground that Koszta had never ceased to be a citizen of Austria, and that Ingraham’s threat was in violation of international law. Marcy replied, September 26, 1853, in a ringing letter, known as the Hülsemann letter, in which he defended the position of the United States throughout, on the ground that Koszta had ceased to be a citizen of Austria even by the law of Austria, “that Koszta when seized and imprisoned was invested with the nationality of the United States, and they had therefore the right, if they chose to exercise it, to extend their protection to him; that from international law — the only law which can be rightfully appealed to for rules in this case — Austria could derive no authority to obstruct or interfere with the United States in the exercise of this right, in effecting the liberation of Koszta; and that Captain Ingraham’s interposition for his release was, under the extraordinary circumstances of the case, right and proper.” This letter was received with great enthusiasm throughout the United States, and the stand taken by Marcy with reference to the status of immigrants not fully naturalized has been indorsed by various well-known authorities on international law. Koszta was ultimately released and allowed to return to the United States.

See Also

  • Treaty of Westphalia
  • Vienna Convention on Consular Relations

Further reading

  • Correspondence between the Secretary of State and the chargé d’affaires of Austria relative to the case of Martin Koszta (Washington, 1853)
  • Rhoades, J. F., History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 (New York, 1910)


Learning is Our Passion


This entry about Koszta Affair has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0) licence, which permits unrestricted use and reproduction, provided the author or authors of the Koszta Affair entry and the Lawi platform are in each case credited as the source of the Koszta Affair entry. Please note this CC BY licence applies to some textual content of Koszta Affair, and that some images and other textual or non-textual elements may be covered by special copyright arrangements. For guidance on citing Koszta Affair (giving attribution as required by the CC BY licence), please see below our recommendation of "Cite this Entry".

Cite this entry

Legal Citations Generator

(2013, 04). Koszta Affair maxims.lawin.org Retrieved 01, 2023, from https://maxims.lawin.org/koszta-affair/

04 2013. 01 2023 <https://maxims.lawin.org/koszta-affair/>

"Koszta Affair" maxims.lawin.org. maxims.lawin.org, 04 2013. Web. 01 2023. <https://maxims.lawin.org/koszta-affair/>

"Koszta Affair" maxims.lawin.org. 04, 2013. Accesed 01 2023. https://maxims.lawin.org/koszta-affair/

Johannes Maule, 'Koszta Affair' (maxims.lawin.org 2013) <https://maxims.lawin.org/koszta-affair/> accesed 2023 January 31

Usage Metrics

324 Views. 269 Visitors.

Google Scholar: Search for Koszta Affair Related Content

 

Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Koszta Affair
  • Author: Johannes Maule
  • Description: Koszta Affair It was an important diplomatic incident. A Hungarian refugee to the United States, named Martin Koszta, [...]

This entry was last updated: April 22, 2017

Recent Comments