No. 388.
Mr. Wurts to Mr. Fish.

No. 472.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your instruction No. 395, dated August 11, 1873. At the present moment it is impossible to make an accurate return of the information you desire on this subject. I have, however, taken steps to ascertain it, having sent a copy of the instruction to the consuls throughout the kingdom, with a request for an early reply.

The last census taken in Italy, on January 1, 1872, doubtless contains a statement of the foreigners, resident and sojourning, in the country at that date, but it is not yet published. I have, nevertheless, addressed a note to the ministry of foreign affairs asking that an extract be made from it as regards American citizens and information in relation to them.

I have also sent to Mr. Marsh a copy of this instruction, and on his return to Rome, which will probably be before the receipt at the legation of the replies from the consulates, he will be able to give more information on the subject than is in the power of anyone else. Mr. Marsh directs me to say that he has always reserved cases involving questions of naturalization for his own personal examination.

Only one case is known at this legation of a renunciation of American citizenship, made by an Italian by birth naturalized in the United States.

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No record or registration is made at the legation of the birth of children born in Italy of fathers who claim to be American citizens. This registration is generally made at the American chapels, in cities where such exist, and in cases where the parents are Protestants. Neither American-born citizens, nor Italians naturalized in the United States, returning afterwards to their own country, give any notice to the legation of the birth of children, and rarely ask to be in any registered on our records as American citizens. We seldom hear of the naturalized Italians as such, unless when they or their children are called upon for military duty.

I have never known during my connection with this legation, which dates from the autumn of 1885, of any instance of American citizens having “the births of their children born out of the United States registered as those of subjects of the country in which they were born, or so as to entitle them to the option of claiming citizenship in that country.”

I am, &c.,