Page images

the treaty of Feb. 22, 1868, had no relation to persons of double nationality. The request for Meyer's discharge was therefore refused.

The Government of the United States, April 20, 1897, pointed out that there was an important difference between the cases of Meyer and Rabien, in that Rabien made a formal declaration before a German tribunal that he did not intend ever to settle in America. The case of Ferdinand Revermann, in 1885, was, said the United States, a “case in point.” Revermann's father emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1850, was naturalized in Illinois in 1856, and resided continuously in America till 1871. The son was born in Illinois in 1860, was taken to Germany by the father in 1871, and continued to reside there till 1880. In the latter year the landrath at Münster certified that as he was born a citizen of the United States his name would be stricken from the military rolls, and this was done; and Dr. Busch, the German minister for foreign affairs, while contending that the father had renounced his American naturalization, said: "American law, so far as known here, contains no provision which makes the renunciation of American naturalization by the father act upon his minor sons also. The Government of H. M. the Emperor has, therefore, no hesitation in recognizing such persons as American citizens.

Individuals possessing this character cannot be made to perform military service in Germany."

In June, 1897, Meyer was discharged from the army as “dienstuntauglich" (unfit for service), but the German Government continued to maintain its opinion as to his liability to perform military duty, and declined to release him from such liability. The case of Revermann was declared to be in a legal sense different from that of Meyer. “With Revermann," said the German Government, “it was the case of an American citizen who was born after his father was naturalized in America, and who therefore never possessed German nationality, and on his coming to Germany was to be solely regarded an American citizen. With Alfred Meyer, on the other hand, the acquisition of American citizenship was based solely on his birth in the United States, while the naturalization of his father in America could not be proved. According to investigations made, the latter remained a Prussian subject until the time of his death. His son, therefore, also possesses German nationality by descent, and if through his birth in Baltimore he is considered by the American side as at the same time an American citizen, it can only be stated that through his double nationality he will have to fulfill his duties toward both countries.

Mr. Uhl, Am. amb., to Baron Marschall, min. of for, aff., Dec. 31, 1896:

For. Rel. 1897, 195; Baron Marschall to Mr. Uhl, March 14, 1897, id. 195; Mr. Sherman, Sec. of State, to Mr. Uhl, April 20, 1897, id. 196;

Baron von Rotenban, acting min. of for. aff., to Mr. White, Am.

amb., July 23, 1897, id. 201. See, also, Mr. Adee, Second Assist. Sec. of State, to Mr. Wilinski, Aug.

19, 1897, 220 MS. Dom. Let. 352.

Albert F. Gendrot was born at Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 28, 1866, his father being a Frenchman, who had resided in the United States since 1847. In 1870 the father returned to France, but after remaining there a few years he resumed his residence in Boston. In 1885, however, he went back to France with his family, including his son Albert, then nineteen years of age, who bore an American passport. In '1887 Albert was notified to perform military duty, and, on failing to respond, was arrested and imprisoned. In reply to an appeal made in his behalf by the United States legation in Paris, the French Government stated that, as by the French law a person born abroad to French parents was French, the case presented no irregularity. The legation answered that the case was not one in which the rule of jus sanguinis could be “ strictly applied;" that at the time of Albert's birth his father was a regularly domiciled” in the United States, where he resided thirty years, giving his son an American education, and that the latter was only “ temporarily” in France.

The Department of State approved the course of the legation, and instructed it to use its “good offices” to obtain Gendrot's release from military service, and added : “ You will, however, advise him that his remaining in France after he becomes of age may be regarded as an election of French nationality (see Wharton's Digest, vol. 2, $ 183, pp. 396-7, 2d edition), and that his only method of electing and maintaining an American nationality is by a prompt return to this country."

Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. McLane, min. to France, Dec. 28, 1887,

For. Rel. 1888, I. 498. See, also, For. Rel. 1888, I. 495–498.
The French Government subsequently stated that Gendrot, if he desired

to assert his American citizenship, should apply to the courts, since
the military authorities would strike his name from the rolls only on
the strength of a judicial decision declaring him to be an alien. The
legation subsequently reported that, being about to be rearrested and
imprisoned, he had left France, since he understood that, as he was
by French law a Frenchman, an application to the courts could not
be successful. (For. Rel. 1888, I. 499.)

In 1898 Gendrot returned clandestinely to France, thinking that his presence would not be detected. Early in 1899, being then thirtythree years of age and having passed the period of military service in the active army, he was notified to appear before the military authorities to explain why he did not comply with the order issued to him in 1887 to join the regiment to which he had been assigned. Again the legation intervened, representing that as he had passed the age of active service he might, according to the law of 1889, renounce his French citizenship without the permission of the French Government. The case came before the second council of war, February 18, 1899, and upon application of his attorney, whom the court had assigned to him, a decision was postponed in order that he might have the question of his nationality decided by a civil tribunal. It appearing that Gendrot would probably be unable to employ counsel before the civil tribunal, the embassy of the United States was directed, if necessary, to arrange with its counsel to look after the case, with the understanding that a reasonable fee might be charged for the service. In the last report of the case by the embassy, April 5, 1899, the civil proceeding was not yet terminated. On March 29, 1899, however, an important note was addressed to the embassy by Mr. Delcassé, minister of foreign affairs. In this note the ground was taken that Gendrot must be considered as French in accordance with article 8, section 1, of the Civil Code (old article 10), and that the question whether an individual had lost his title to French citizenship by establishing himself abroad without any intention of returning ilepended upon matters of fact " which the courts, sovereign judges in questions of nationality, can alone decide.” Finally, said Mr. Delcassé, the fact that Gendrot had passed the age of service in the active army did not give him the right to claim foreign nationality. He could make effective such a claim“ only by showing that he has been naturalized in the United States in accordance with the laws in force." Moreover, in order that his naturalization might be effective with regard to France, he should have a formal authorization." Hence he remained in the position of one still subject to the obligations of military service in the active army. “ It is," said Mr. Delcassé, “ the fact of having complied with the obligations of the military service in the active army and in the reserve, and not the fact of having reached the age when one is transferred to the territorial army which enables a Frenchman to have himself naturalized abroad without the consent of the Government."

Commenting on this note the American ambassador said: “ The minister of foreign affairs, expressing the view of the minister of justice, assumes quite a new position. In its correspondence with this embassy, and particularly in the case of Giron (1897), the French Government had admitted that a Frenchman having passed the age of service in the active army was no longer obliged to obtain permission from the French authorities to change his original nationality, an admission which is in strict conformity with the revised article 17 of the Civil Code."

Mr. Porter, ambass. to France, to Mr. Hay, Sec. of State, April 5, 1899,

For. Rel. 1899, 271.


In a letter of November 26, 1897, Mr. Adee, Second Assistant Secretary

of State, replying to an inquiry of Gendrot's before the latter went to France, said:

Should you voluntarily put yourself within French jurisdiction, the dual claim of that country to your allegiance would revive and you could scarcely hope to escape judicial proceedings, perhaps under added disadvantage of being regarded as a fugitive from military service by reason of your return to the United States in 1888. There is no naturalization treaty between the United States and France. l'nder the French code a person born a Frenchman can only lose that status by process of law, one of the causes of such loss being naturalization in a foreign country. You have not been naturalized in the United States, and the fact of your being born in the United States is by French law no bar to the French claim upon your allegiance; it is, on the contrary, a case expressly provided for by that law, so that the French courts will be precluded from declaring you to be anything but a French citizen should the case actually arise for judicial determination. This contingency, however, could not arise, so far as seen, except by your own voluntary act in returning to France, and in such a case it is doubtful if this Government could efficiently protect you outside of its own jurisdiction." (For. Rel. 1899, 269-270.)


$ 429.

The 4th section of the act of April 14, 1802 (Rev. Stat. $ 2172), making children of naturalized persons citizens, " is only a municipal law, and can have no effect beyond the jurisdiction of this governinent and especially in Holland, if it should be in conflict with the local law of that country. If, therefore, Johannes (whose citizenship was contested] voluntarily placed himself within Dutch jurisdiction, his rights and his obligations must be measured by the laws of Holland and not by the laws of the United States."

Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Wendell, Sept. 7, 1854, 43 MS. Dom. Let.


S., a Prussian subject by birth, emigrated to the United States in 1848, and became naturalized in 1854. In the following year a son was born to him. Four years later S. returned to Germany with his family, including the infant son, and settled at Wiesbaden, in Nassau, where he afterwards resided. In 1866 Nassau became incorporated into the North German Confederation. In 1874, on reaching the military age, the son was called upon by the German Government to perform military duty. The father invoked the intervention of the American legation at Berlin, but declined to give any assurance as to return to the United States. By Art. IV. of the treaty of 1868, between the United States and North Germany, it is stipulated that if a citizen of the one country, naturalized in the other, renews his residence in the country of his origin without an intent to return to the country of his adoption, he “shall be held to have renounced his naturalization," and that “the intent not to return may be held to exist when the person naturalized in the one country resides more than two years in the other country.” Held, (1) that the father must be deemed to have abandoned his American citizenship and to have resumed the German nationality; (2) that the son, being a minor, acquired under the laws of Germany the nationality of his father, but did not thereby lose his American nationality; (3) that upon attaining his majority, the son might, at his own election, return and take the nationality of his birth or remain in Germany and retain his acquired nationality; (4) yet that during his minority and while domiciled with his father in Germany, he could not rightfully claim exemption from military duty there.

Steinkauler's case, Pierrepont, At. Gen., 1873, 15 Op. 15.
The minor child of a Spaniard, born in the United States and while

in the United States, or in any other country than Spain, is a citi.
zen of the United States. " The United States has, however, recog-
nized the principle that persons although entitled to be deemed citi.
zens by its laws, may also, by the law of some other country, be held
to allegiance in that country.” (Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr.

('ushing, Feb. 16, 1877, MS. Inst. Spain, XVIII. 115.) See, also, Steinkauler's case affirmed, in Mr. Wharton, Act. Sec. of State.

to Mr. Goldsmith, Sept. 3, 1890, 179 MS. Dom. Let. 88.

“ If the father

did in fact renounce his American citizenship and resume his original allegiance, in a manner recognized by the laws of his native country, that fact would operate as a renunciation of the adopted citizenship for his minor children, at least while they remain within the jurisdiction which their father reacknowledged.”

Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Kasson, min. to Germany, Jan. 15,

1885, For. Rel, 1885, 396, 397.

In April, 1885, John L. Geist applied to the American legation at Berlin for a passport as a citizen of the United States. He was then sixteen years of age, having been born in the United States in 1869. He gave as his reason for wishing a passport the fact that he had been notified by the German authorities that he might not remain in Germany later than the 1st of the following August. It appeared that his father, a German subject by birth, emigrated to the United States in 1854, but was not naturalized till 1872. Subsequently, in the same year, he returned to Germany, where, early in 1885, he was formally readmitted to German allegiance. In the certificate of readmission it was expressly stated that it included five of his minor children, who were designated by name. John L. was not among them.

It was held that he was entitled to a passport for the following reasons:

« PreviousContinue »