No. 5.
Mr. Taft to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 24.]

Sir: Instances are constantly arising of persons who are residing here claiming protection as naturalized citizens of the United States when called upon to perform duties as citizens of this Empire, and they present a variety of circumstances.

The consul at Buda-Pesth has presented the following case to this legation for advice: A native citizen of Hungary emigrated to the United States, remained six years, became naturalized, and then returned to [Page 6] Hungary, where he has remained ever since, with his family, in business Meantime he has voted at elections and paid taxes, like other Hungarian citizens. It is fifteen years since he returned from America, and he has children born in Hungary, whose names he now wishes to have registered as children of an American citizen at the consulate in Buda-Pesth. He claims never to have renounced his United States citizenship. Though living here since 1867, he declares that he does not consider himself at home here. I understand, further, from the statement of the consul, that the applicant has been all the while silent as to his American citizenship since his return to Hungary till now. The consul also stated that he was informed that the laws of Hungary allow a foreigner to vote who has been paying a certain amount of taxes for two years, and that this voting did not commit him as to citizenship in Hungary. The applicant had a passport, dated 1855.

The consul then asked me whether he could comply with the request of the applicant, if he renewed his passport; and secondly, what was the true construction of paragraph 167 of Consular Regulations, remarking that he had thus far construed it to mean that the limitation of two years spoken of is applicable only to the right of “vise.”

As to the first and main inquiry, I answered that I should regard the circumstance that immediately after obtaining his naturalization papers he came back to the home of his birth and resided there continuously for fifteen years to the present time, and voted at the elections, as evidence that he had renounced his citizenship in the United States, and resumed the domicile and citizenship of the country of his birth. This seems to me a fair construction of the fourth article of the treaty of September 20, 1870, between Austria-Hungary and the United States.

As to the second inquiry, that is, whether a passport may be valid and available more than two years after its issue, I answered that I did not doubt that the true construction of section 167 of the Consular Regulations was that “a passport is good for two years and no longer,” and that there was nothing in the subsequent part of the paragraph to qualify or neutralize that provision. As the circumstances of this case differ in some material points from any that have preceded it, I have thought it expedient to report it for your consideration and approval. If you should think my ruling in the case erroneous, it can readily be corrected.

I am, &c.,