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the United States Government recognizes and claims as an American citizen Jacob Bohn, said to have been born on February 16, 1885, at Jeffersonville, Ind., and at present at Ludwigshafen.
Jacob Bohn's father, Alexander Bohin, born March 17, 1862, at Gleisweiler, emigrated to America in October, 1881, being at the time a citizen of Bavaria. On July 22, 1882, a license was issued to him to marry Anna Maria Oeiller, of Ludwigshafen, but there is no proof at hand of the conclusion of the marriage itself, from which the aforementioned Jacob Bohn is said to have sprung. It has been ascertained by inquiry that there is no record of this marriage in the matrimonial records of Clark County. The birth of the son, Jacob Bohn, is likewise not recorded in the books of this county.
Alexander Bolin is said to have subsequently acquired American citizenship, but proof of this is also lacking. It was only possible to ascertain that Alexander Bohn had received his first papers (declaration of intention) in Clark County, but not that he had acquired American citizenship in Clark County. According to a written affirmation which has been lost, Bohn made his declaration of intention to become an American citizen before the proper authority on September 13, 1884.
İn 1891 the said Alexander Bohn is said by his relatives to have died in America. In April, 1892, his widow returned with her children, including her son Jacob, to Ludwigshafen, where the family has resided ever since.
According to American laws, the son Jacob Bohn must have acquired American citizenship by being born in America (of which fact, as said before, there is no documentary proof), even though his father should not have been an American.
I take the liberty to respectfully request your excellency to kindly have the necessary inquiries made of the proper authorities, and to inform me of the result in due season. Please accept, etc.,
The Icting Secretary of State to the German Ambassador.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, November 20, 1906. EXCELLENCY: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 25th ultimo, from which it appears that Alexander Bohn, a German subject, came to America in 1881, and married Anna Maria Oefller, apparently also a German subject, in 1882, at Jeffersonville, Ind. ; that Jacob Bohn was born to them at Jeffersonville, February 16, 1885; that Alexander Bohn seems to have made declaration of his intention to become a citizen of the United States, but whether or not he ever took out his final papers does not appear; that he died in 1891, and his widow returned to Germany in 1892, taking her children with her; among them was Jacob Bohn, who was seven years old at the time, and that since that time Jacob Bohn has resided with his mother at Ludwigshafen in Germany.
Inquiry is made on behalf of the Bavarian government whether the Government of the United States claims and recognizes Jacob Bohn as an American citizen.
While it would seem to be impossible to speak with certainty as to Mr. Jacob Bohn's status without a more detailed showing of facts than is made in the above statement, it gives me pleasure to inclose the following memorandum of the law officer of the department covering the principles upon which this department has acted in similar cases. Accept, excellency, etc.,
Assuming that Alexander Bohn never became a citizen of the United States, Jacob Bohn was born of German parents in the United States. According to the Constitution and laws of the United States as interpreted by the courts, a child born to alien parents in the l'nited States is an American citizen, although such child may also be a citizen of the country of his parents according to the law of that country.
Although there is no express provision in the law of the United States giving election of citizenship in such cases, this department has always held in such circumstances that if a child is born of foreign parents in the United States, and is taken during minority to the country of his parents, such child upon arriving of age, or within a reasonable time thereafter, must make election between the citizenship which is his by birth and the citizenship which is his by parentage. In case a person so circumstanced elects American citizenship he must, unless in extraordinary circumstances, in order to render his election effective, manifest an intention in good faith to return with all convenient speed to the United States and assume the duties of citizenship.
Inasmuch as it appears that Jacob Bohn was born on February 16, 1885, he became of age on February 16 of the present year. Whether he had made any election or done any act which amounts to an election of American citizenship, the department is not informed. Whether or not he intends in good faith to return within a reasonable time to the United States does not appear. The depa rtment can not say, in the absence of all information as to the circumstances of the case, that the mere lapse of time since February 16 of the present year, coupled with continued residence in Germany, is sufficient in its opinion to an election of German citizenship. In these circumstances, the department is unable to state whether or not Jacob Bohn is to be recognized as an American citizen.
In case it should appear that Alexander Bohn became an American citizen, the question of expatriation, rather than election of citizenship, would seem to arise, This Government has always recognized the right of expatriation on the part of both its natural-born and naturalized citizens. Expatriation was defined by Secretary Fish, perhaps as definitely as the nature of the subject admits, as “the quitting of one's country, with an abandonment of allegiance and with the view of becoming permanently a resident and citizen of some other country, resulting in the loss of the party's preexisting character of citizenship."
Whether or not Jacob Bohn has expatriated himself within the above definition it would, of course, not be possible to say, inasmuch as no facts appear which in themselves would work on expatriation.
Note that according to the treaty of 1868 between the United States and Bavaria naturalization in the United States plus five years uninterrupted residence in the United States either before or after naturalization confers American citizenship on a Bavarian subject. This may be lost by a renewal of residence in Bavaria without intent to return to the United States. The absence of intent to return is presumed after two years' residence (but this presumption is not conclusive).
59605—F R 1906 42
EXEMPTION FROM THE PAYMENT OF CHURCH TAXES IN
Ambassador Tower to the Secretary of State.
Berlin, February 19, 1906. Sir: I have the honor to call your attention to a note which I have received, under date of the 11th of January, 1906, from the Imperial German ministry for foreign affairs, in relation to the subject of the payment of church taxes by American citizens resident in Germany, a copy and a translation into English of which are respect fully herewith inclosed.
It has been the custom heretofore to exempt American citizens residing in Germany from the payment of church taxes here upon proof being made by them, usually through diplomatic channels, that they are members of an American or Anglican church situated in or near to the place of their residence. But under the provisions of a statute enacted in Prussia on the 14th of July, 1905, which will enter into effect on or about the 1st of April, 1906, a new system will be adopted for levying church taxes upon foreign citizens and subjects residing in Prussia. That statute provides that such foreign citizens and subjects resident here shall be exempt in future from the payment of church taxes in Prussia only in cases where the royal ministry of state shall have certified in the Prussian statutes that Prussian subjects are reciprocally exempt from the payment of church taxes in the native countries of such foreign citizens and subjects; and I am called upon by the Imperial German ministry for foreign affairs to answer the question whether Prussian subjects are exempt from payment of church taxes when resident within the United States of America.
As there is no state church in the United States, so there is no church tax imposed, in so far as I am informed, either by the Federal Government or the several State governments, and consequently Prussian subjects residing within the United States of America are exempt from the payment of church taxes. I have the honor to request that I may be instructed to make formal answer in this connection to the inquiry of the Imperial German ministry for foreign affairs. The ministry has requested that this answer may be given, if possible, before the ist of April, 1906. I have, etc.,
The Imperial Jlinister for Foreign Affairs to Ambassador Tower.
The undersigned has the honor to make the following communication to his excellency. Mr. Charlemagne Tower ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States of America :
Citizens of the United States of America living in the old provinces of the Prussian monarchy who are members of an American or Anglican church situated in the place of their residence are, under the present regulations, exempt as such church members de facto or upon application made through diplomatic channels for such exemption, from the payment of the church taxes
levied for the support of the protestant church of the parish 'in which they reside. But, under the provisions of the law of the 14th of July, 1905, relating to the collection of church taxes throughout the congregations and parishes of the national evangelical church in the old provinces of the kingdom (Prussian Statutes 1904, page 77), which will enter into effect on or about the 1st of April, 1906, a new system will be adopted; for this law provides that appeals against the levying of church taxes shall no longer be considered by the fiscal authorities, but must be brought before the superior court for decision. It provides further that the exemption of a non-German resident from the payment of church taxes shall depend upon the fact that a similar exemption is reciprocally extended to Germans in the native country of such non-German resident; which fact shall be certified to by the royal ministry of the state.
Article IV, Paragraph I, section 3, of the law provides :
" The claims for exemption from the payment of church taxes which may be made by citizens or subjects of a non-German country, upon the ground that they are members of a church situated in or near to the parish in which they may reside, which said church is not supported by the parish funds, shall be allowed upon condition that the royal ministry of state shall have certified in the Prussian statutes that a similar exemption from church taxes is allowed reciprocally to Prussian subjects residing in the native countries of such nonGerman subjects or citizens, and if the said non-German subjects or citizens shall not have declared to the parish authorities their willingness to pay such taxes."
Therefore the exemption of citizens of the United States of America from the payment of church taxes shall be based hereafter upon a certificate setting forth that such exemption is reciprocally granted in the United States to the German Empire, or at least to the Prussian State and their citizens and subjects.
The question thus arises whether the German subjects resident in the United States of America, who are members of a church situated in or near to the parish in which they reside—such church not being supported by the funds of that parish-are exempt from the payment of church taxes; and if so, what steps are to be taken to prove such exemption.
An early reply to this inquiry is desired in order that the royal ministry of state may issue the necessary certificate in the Prussian statutes before the 1st of April, 1906. The undersigned avails himself, etc.,
The Secretary of State to Ambassador Tower.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 22, 1906. Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 896, of the 19th ultimo, relative to the subject of payment of church taxes by nonGerman citizens and subjects resident in Germany. You state that you are called upon by the imperial ministry for foreign affairs to answer the question whether Prussian subjects are exempt from pay. ment of church taxes when resident in the United States, and add · that your understanding is that, as there is no state church in the United States, so there is no church tax imposed either by the Federal Government or the several state governments, and that consequently Prussian subjects residing within the United States are exempt from the payment of church taxes.
I confirm, in this connection, the department's telegram of the 20th instant, reading as follows: Answering your eight ninety-six. You are correct in your understanding. I am, sir, etc.,
Ambassador Tower to the Secretary of State. No. 1014.]
Berlin, August 31, 1906. Sır: In supplement to my dispatch No. 896, of the 19th of February, 1906, relative to the subject of the payment of church taxes by American citizens residing in Germany, I have the honor to report to you that I addressed a note to the Imperial German ministry for foreign affairs on the 23d of March, 1906, making the formal statement which was asked for by the German Government and which I was authorized to make by your telegram to me of the 20th of March, 1906, that, as there is no state church in the United States, so there is no church tax imposed either by the Federal Government or the several state governments of the United States of America, and German subjects residing within the United States are exempt there from the payment of church taxes. I have received a reply to this note from the imperial ministry, dated the 4th of August, 1906, informing me that, in view of the statement contained in my note of the 23d of March, 1906, the reciprocal treatment of Prussian subjects in the United States has been decided to be sufficient ground upon which to exempt here from the payment of church taxes such American citizens as may he members of a religious congregation established at or near to the Prussian parish in which they may reside. The religious services of said congregation are not supported by the authorities of the said Prussian parish.
A copy and a translation into English of this note from the ministry for foreign affairs are inclosed herewith.
I have the honor to inclose to you herewith also three copies of the “ Gesetz-Sammlung für die Koniglichen Preussischen Staaten.” No. 32, dated at Berlin, the 11th of July, 1906, in which will be found printed on page 322 the official notice of the royal Prussian minister of state, dated June 30, 1906, making the announcement that citizens of the United States of America are exempt from the payment of church taxes. I have, etc.,
The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Ambassador Tower.
BERLIN, August 4, 1906. In view of the statement contained in the note of the 23d of March, 1906, the undersigned has the lionor to inform his excellency Mr. Charlemagne Tower, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the l'nited States of America, that the reciprocal treatment of Prussian subjects in the United States of America has been decided to be sufficient ground upon which to exempt here from the payment of church taxes such American citizens as may be members of a religious congregation established at or near to the Prussian parish in which they may reside, the religious services of which said congregation are not supported by the authorities of the said Prussian parish.
The undersigned has the honor to inclose herewith one copy of the “ GesetzSammlung für die Koniglichen Preussischen Staaten" for the year 1906, No. 32, in which, on page 322, will be found printed the notice of the royal Prussian ministry of state, and dated June 30, 1906, relating to the reciprocal exemption from the payment of church taxes of subjects of Prussia, on the one part, and the citizens of England, Wales, and Ireland as well as those of the United States of America on the other part. The undersigned avails himself of this opportunity, etc.,