to Mr. Evarts.
Mexico, July 18, 1879. (Received August 12.)
Sir: I transmit herewith a copy of a communication from Mr. Strother, consul-general in this city, referring to citizenship of James W. Smith, lately deceased, and to the rights of his minor children.
During the French intervention and Maximilian empire in Mexico in 1866–’67, Mr. Smith rendered important services to the republican army and government, both personal and of a pecuniary or property character, whereby a claim accrued to a considerable amount, say $150,000 or more. In 1876 Mr. Smith took part in the revolution under General Porfirio Diaz, and upon the triumph of the revolution and the establishment of the same as the government of Mexico, Mr. Smith was appointed to and accepted the position of colonel in the Mexican army, and was understood to be in said service at the time of his death.
The Mexican law of January 30, 1856, now in force, says:
Art. 7. The foreigner shall he held as naturalized:
I. If he accepts any public charge (cargo) of the nation or belongs to the army or navy.
The government official organ has recently referred to this law and stated that according to its provisions foreigners who accept any office in the government, either civil or military, by that act become Mexican citizens.
It is highly desirable that the status of American citizens who accept service under the Mexican Government be fixed and made known, as the cases are not unusual.
I have, therefore, respectfully to request the views of the Department upon the questions presented in Consul-General Strother’s communication and the facts noticed in the present dispatch.
I am, &c.