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contingency had been removed and the interest vested prior to July 1 of that year.

Replying to your specific inquiry, I am unable to conclude that Congress intended to make any distinction between the use of the terms "vested" in the first paragraph, and "vested in possession or enjoyment" in the second paragraph of said section. In each case the subject of exemption was the same, viz, contingent interests in the technical legal sense, and the only difference between them was that in the one case the tax having been paid a refund is provided, and in the other case its imposition is forbidden. I can not think that the words, "vested in posession or enjoyment," imply an actual physical possession of the subject of the legacy, for if Congress had so intended it would have enabled anyone whose interest had become vested, and therefore assignable, to avoid the tax by postponing the physical possession of the interest. Both with respect to the taxes paid, or to be assessed, the law sought to exempt contingent interests which might never vest, and the words "vested in possession or enjoyment,' therefore, reasonably mean that the contingency had been removed prior to July 1, 1902.

Respectfully,

JAMES M. BECK,

Acting Attorney-General.

The SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY-INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT. The United States have power, either alone or in cooperation with other countries, to impose conditions upon the operation of any wireless telegraph system which conveys messages to or from the United States. Such transmission is commerce, and the power of the United States to regulate commerce and to preserve the territorial integrity of this country does not depend upon the means employed but upon the end attained.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
August 18, 1902.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 18th ultimo, transmitting "copy of a confidential memorandum from the general embassy suggesting an international arrangement to prevent the English Marconi

Company from obtaining a monopoly of wireless telegraphy," and also a copy of your reply, summarizing the answer of the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments to the proposal.

You ask for my opinion "on the legal questions involved, so far as this Government is concerned," and for "legal suggestions as to the regulations proposed to be submitted to a preliminary conference."

The power of the United States, either alone or in cooperation with other countries, to impose conditions upon the operation of any wireless telegraph system which conveys messages to or from the United States is perfectly clear. Such transmission has been repeatedly held by the Supreme Court to be commerce, and, therefore, within the plenary and paramount authority of the Federal Government to regulate, whether such commerce be foreign or interstate.

Apart from this specific clause of the Constitution, I may refer you to the carefully considered opinion of this Department (22 Opin., 13), in which the inherent authority of the President to control the landing of foreign submarine cables on the shores of the United States was set forth. The conclusions therein reached are not affected by the means employed to transmit messages, for whether transmitted by the ordinary telegraph wires, by submarine cables, or by any of the wireless systems, the power of the Government to regulate commerce and to preserve the territorial integrity of this country depends not upon the means employed but upon the end attained.

Whether the United States should participate in an international conference to regulate wireless telegraphy is an administrative question upon which I am not called to express an opinion. If your Department should reach the conclusion to participate in such a conference, and desires. to formulate propositions for its consideration in behalf of the United States, I am willing, if desired, to express an opinion, upon their submission to me, as to their legal sufficiency.

Respectfully,

JAMES M. BECK,

Acting Attorney-General.

The SECRETARY OF STATE.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL-OPINION.

It is the invariable rule of the Department of Justice to decline to give an opinion except when the request is accompanied by a statement or finding of the facts involved.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,

August 27, 1902. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th instant, inclosing certain correspondence between the officers of your Department and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, as well as certain communications submitted on behalf of the Sailors' Union of the Pacific, and in which you ask my opinion upon the following questions:

(1) "Is not the proposed transfer of the said Chinese seamen, under the circumstances mentioned in the accompanying correspondence, such a landing as would bring them within the provisions of the treaty and laws in relation to the exclusion of Chinese?

(2) "If the transfer contemplated may be made without violation of the said laws, would it not be in pursuance of a contract or agreement such as that prohibited by section 1 of the act of February 26, 1885 (23 Stat., 332), and the acts amendatory thereto, known as the alien contract-labor laws?"

You do not give me, as the basis for an opinion, any agreed statement of facts, but on the contrary ask for an expression of my opinion upon facts to be gathered from the inclosures of your letter. It has been the invariable rule of this Department to decline to give an opinion except when the request is "accompanied by a statement or finding of the facts involved." (23 Opin., 331, and previous opinions there cited.)

I am therefore reluctantly constrained to decline to express any opinion.

I return you the inclosures of your letter.

Respectfully,

JAMES M. BECK,

Acting Attorney-General.

The SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

CIVIL SERVICE-REINSTATEMENT.

A person formerly employed as a clerk in the temporary or Spanish war force, who resigned September 30, 1901, can not, by virtue of section 3 of the act of April 28, 1902 (32 Stat., 120, 171), which transferred these temporary positions to the classified service, be reinstated without examination.

The question whether such person is eligible to be reinstated under rule 9 of the Civil Service Regulations depends upon the date of the requisition. If the position was within the classified service at the date of the requisition, then such person is eligible.

The word "may" in rule 9 vests a discretion in the Commission. The question of reinstatement is one of administrative discretion, and is not to be granted except when consistent with the interests of the public service.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
August 27, 1902.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of August 25, 1902, in which you ask me to submit an opinion in the case of Mrs. Marian K. Rogers, who is an applicant for reinstatement in the War Department under the following circumstances: The applicant, on January 2, 1898, was appointed a clerk in the temporary or Spanish war force of the War Department, appointments to which, under the act of Congress, were to be made without compliance with the civil-service rules. On September 30, 1901, she resigned.

By section 3 of the act of April 28, 1902, these temporary positions were transferred to the classified service, and the employees who then filled them were placed in the same position as though they had complied with the laws governing the civil service. As I held, in an opinion under date of June 23, 1902, "this personal exemption is limited to those who filled the positions in question at the time of the passage of the act." As Mrs. Rogers had surrendered her position prior to the passage of the act she can not, by the force of its provisions, claim the personal exemption therein provided. The positions, however, being brought within the operation of the civil-service laws "must be filled in accordance with the laws and regulations governing appointments to the civil service." The question therefore arises whether she

is eligible for reinstatement under rule 9 of the Civil Service Regulations, which provides as follows:

"A vacancy in any position which has been, or may hereafter be, classified under the civil-service act, may, upon requisition of the proper officer and the certificate of the Commission, be filled by the reinstatement, without examination, of any person who, within one year next preceding the date of said requisition, has, through no delinquency or misconduct, been separated from a position included within the classified service at the date of said requisition, and in that department or office and that branch of the service in which said vacancy exists."

Mrs. Rogers's eligibility for reinstatement, therefore, depends upon the date of the requisition. If the position to which she desires to be reinstated was within the classified service at the date of the requisition, then she is eligible under rule 9. But if, on the contrary, the requisition was made prior to the act of April 28, 1902, which brought the position in question within the classified service, then, in my opinion, rule 9 is without application.

You further ask me to submit an opinion as to whether the word "may," as used in rule 9, vests a discretion in the Commission as to such reinstatement. Ordinarily the use of the word "may" in legal regulations imports such discretion, although at times it is used without such meaning, especially in cases where an exception to a previous rule is being noted. In examining the civil-service rules it would appear that the words "shall" and "may" have generally been used advisedly to distinguish between that which is mandatory and that which is discretionary. Thus section + of rule 7 provides that "the term of eligibility shall be one year from the date on which the name of the eligible is entered on the register: Provided, That this term may be extended, in the discretion of the Commission, for a further period of one year from the date of the expiration of the first year's eligibility, upon such conditions as the Commission may prescribe: And provided further, That in case a person whose name is upon any register shall be mustered into the military or naval service of the United States at a time when the United States may be engaged in war, the

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