Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 1, 1873
My Lord: With reference to your lordship’s dispatch to Lord Augustus Loftus, marked circular No. 173, of the 11th ultimo, instructing his excellency to furnish your lordship with a report with regard to the nationality of children born of alien parents within the Prussian dominions, I have the honor to inclose to your lordship, herewith, copy and translation of a note from the Prussian foreign office, in which it is stated that no special legal provisions exist in Prussia with regard to this question. Monsieur von Kehler incloses, however, a copy of the law of the 31st of December, 1842, with reference to the acquirement or loss of the rights of Prussian subjects, and remarks that, in accordance with the provisions of this law, the general principle observed with regard to nationality is that legitimate children follow the nationality of the father, and illegitimate children that of the mother. No legal consequences, as regards nationality, are attached to the circumstance of a child being born in the Prussian dominions.
I have the honor to transmit to your lordship a translation of the law inclosed in Monsieur von Kehler’s note.
I have, &c.,
The Lord Stanley, M. P., &c., &c., &c.
According to the contents of his excellency Lord A. Loftus’s letter of the 24th instant, the government of Her Britannic Majesty are desirous of obtaining information relative to the legal provisions in force in Prussia with respect to the nationality of the children born of foreign parents within the Prussian dominions.
With reference to this subject, the undersigned has the honor to inform his excellency Lord A. Loftus that no special legal provisions exist in Prussia with regard to this question. In accordance with the regulations laid down in the annexed copy of the law of the 31st December, 1842, respecting the acquirement or loss of the quality of a Prussian subject, the general principle is observed with reference to the decision of personal relations, and also of nationality, that legitimate children follow the nationality of the father, and illegitimate children that of the mother, unless an alteration is made in consequence of the proceedings of the children themselves. No special consequences with respect to nationality are attended to the fact of being born in Prussia.
The undersigned avails, &c.
His excellency Lord A. Loftus, &c., &c., &c.
Law respecting the acquisition and loss of the quality of Prussian by a Prussian subject, and his admission to foreign citizenship.—December 31, 1842.
We, Frederick William , &c., &c., ordain, &c.
The rights of Prussian subjects are founded on—
- Descent, (§ 2.)
- Legitimization, (§3.)
- Marriage, (§ 4,) and
- Permission, (§§ 5, &c.)
Adoption does not alone produce this effect.
- § 2.
- Every legitimate child of a Prussian subject is by birth a Prussian subject, even though born in a foreign country. Illegitimate children follow the status of the mother.
- § 3.
- If the mother of an illegitimate child is a foreigner and the father a Prussian, the child may become a Prussian subject by means of legitimization drawn up in accordance with the Prussian laws.
- § 4.
- A foreign woman becomes a Prussian subject on her marriage with a Prussian.
- § 5.
- Permission to become a Prussian subject may be granted upon the issuing of a deed of naturalization, which the police authorities are empowered to grant.
- § 6.
- A permission to a foreigner to enter the service of the Prussian state takes the place of the deed of naturalization. An exception to this rule is made in cases of foreigners employed abroad as consuls or commercial agents.
- § 7.
- The rights of Prussian subjects can only be granted to
those foreigners who—
- Are capable of receiving them in accordance with the laws of their former country.
- Have led an irreproachable life.
- Have got a house or the means of subsistence in the plaee where they have settled.
- Are in a position to sustain themselves and their families in that place.
- If they are subjects of a German state, have fulfilled their military obligations to their original country, or have been released by so doing.
- § 8.
- The police authorities are bound before granting naturalization rights to inform the municipality of the district where the applicant purposes to reside, in accordance with the requirements of § 7, Nos. 2, 3, 4, and to listen to their statement and to regard their objections.
- § 9.
- The grant of naturalization confers all the rights and duties of a Prussian at the date of the grant.
- § 10.
- The permission to become a Prussian subject will be extended, unless a special exception is made, to the wife and children under age. If one of these should not have complied with the requirements of§ 7, No. 2, respecting a blameless life, and should therefore not be admitted, the whole family must be refused.
- § 11.
- Nothing in this law shall affect the rights and duties of subjects resulting from the possession of landed property, and especially from the possession of manors and from the oath of homage.
- § 12.
- No parish may receive a foreigner as a member until he has obtained the rights of a Prussian subject.
- Residence within the Prussian state shall not for the future constitute a claim for becoming a Prussian subject.
- § 14.
- Foreigners who wish to reside in Prussia, and do not wish to be regarded as mere travelers, may be called upon to prove the continuance of their former allegiance by means of a certificate. (Heimathschein).
- § 15.
- The quality of a Prussian subject is lost—
- By discharge upon the subject’s request.
- By sentence of the competent authority.
- By living ten years in a foreign country.
- By the marriage of a female Prussian subject with a foreigner.
- § 16.
- The discharge has to be asked for from the police authority of the province in which the subject’s domicile is situated, and is effected by a document made ouf; by the same authority.
- § 17.
- The discharge cannot be granted—
- To male subjects who are between seventeen and twenty years of age, until they have got a certificate of the military commission of recruitment of their district, proving that their application for discharge is not made merely to avoid the fulfilling of their military duty in the standing army.
- To actual soldiers, belonging either to the standing army or the reserve; to officers of the militia and to public functionaries, before their being discharged from service.
- To subjects having formerly served as officers in the standing army or the militia, or having been appointed military employes, with the rank of officers, or civil functionaries, before they have got the consent of the former chief.
- To the persons belonging to the militia, not being officers, after their having been convoked for actual service.
- § 18.
- To subjects wishing to emigrate into a state of the German confederacy the discharge may be refused if they cannot prove that the said state is willing to receive them. (See act of the German Confederation, article 18, No. 2, lit. A.)
- § 19.
- For other reasons than those specified in §§ 17 and 18, the discharge cannot be refused in time of peace. For the time of war, special regulations will be made.
- § 20.
- The document of discharge effects, at the moment of its delivery, the loss of the quality as Prussian subject.
- § 21.
- If there is no special exception, the discharge comprehends also the wife and the minor children that are still under their father’s authority.
- § 22.
- Subjects living in a foreign country may lose their quality as Prussians by a declaration of the police authority of Prussia, if they do not obey, within the time fixed to them, the express summons for returning to their country.
- § 23.
- Subjects who either—
- Leave our states without permission, and do not return within ten years, or
- Leave our states with permission, but do not return within ten years after the expiration of the term granted by the said permission, lose their quality as Prussian subjects.
- § 24.
- Entering into public service in a foreign state.
- The entering of a subject into public service in a foreign state is allowed only after his discharge (see § 20) has been granted to him. Anybody who has obtained it, is permitted to do so without restriction.
- § 25.
- A subject who—
- Either takes public service in a foreign state, with our immediate permission;
- Or is it appointed in our states by a foreign power, in an office established with our permission, as, for instance, that of consul, commercial agent, &c., remaining in his quality as a Prussian.
- § 26.
- General disposition.
Subjects who emigrate without having obtained their discharge, or violate, by their entering into public service in a foreign state, the disposition of § 24, are to be punished according to the laws existing in that respect.