to Mr. Blaine
Berlin , June 1, 1881. (Received June 23.)
Sir: I have the honor to call your attention to a recent decision of the Imperial Government in the case of a naturalized American citizen of Alsace-Lorraine origin, who was fined by the authorities of that province for neglect of military duty.
Jacques Loeb was born in Alsace-Lorraine March 31, 1855, emigrated to the United States in August, 1872, and was naturalized there June 30, 1879. He returned to his native place in the summer of 1880, and was arrested by the local authorities, but was soon released on showing his American citizen-paper. Subsequently a fine of 600 marks was demanded of him, which he was told would be remitted if he applied for a pardon. This he says he did ineffectually.
The legation, on the 4th November last, wrote to the foreign office, claiming the remission of Loeb’s fine, under the treaty of 1868, “as interpreted by the German Government in all cases previous to the year 1880.”
After a delay of six months the foreign office has replied that the fine [Page 472] is remitted, on the ground that “Loeb is no longer a citizen of Alsace-Lorraine.”
In connection with this it should be noticed that similar decisions were given in the cases of Aloys Gehres, in November, 1880, and Solomon Bloch last March, though neither of these persons had been absent from Germany ten years, a circumstance which was, for the first time, given as the reason for the unfavorable decision in the case of John Schehr (see dispatch 146, September 1, 1880), and subsequently in the case of Michael Pacquet, September 26, 1880 (see Foreign Relations for 1880, p. 453); the brothers Hess, September 29, 1880 (Foreign Relations for 1880, p. 453); Joseph Lauber, October 10, 1880 (Foreign Relations for 1880, p. 456); John Fisher, October 7, 1880 (dispatch 162, October 18, 1880); and N. V. Gabriel, October 12, 1880 (same dispatch).
With these last five cases would also have been classed that of Aaron Weill (dispatch 176, January 22, 1880), had it not, in consequence of very strong pressure on the part of the legation, been decided in our favor, on the ground that Weill’s return to Germany was owing to advice from the legation, which was not strictly correct, as the legation had no correspondence with Weill previous to his return to Germany, but had only told him, after his return, that he was protected by the treaty of 1868.
This decision in Loeb’s case, added to those in the cases of Gehres and Bloch, seems to indicate a final acquiescence on the part of the German Government in the doctrine which we have constantly maintained, that cases arising in Alsace-Lorraine are to be treated as coming under the provisions of the Bancroft treaties, and as indicating also a relinquishment of the position taken by the imperial government in the cases of Schehr, Pacquet, the brothers Hess, Lauber, Fisher, and Gabriel, that Alsace-Lorraine not having been acquired when the Bancroft treaties were made, a residence of ten years abroad is required before a person leaving those provinces can be considered to have thrown off his German allegiance.
I have, &c.,