to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
St. Petersburg , May 22, 1884. (Received June 16.)
Sir: A few months ago the Government of Russia issued an order requiring the railway companies of the country to give notice to all employés of foreign nationality to become Russian subjects or leave their service. Similar regulations have been made in other countries; the hardship of it in Russia is that many foreign employés, near the expiration of the term at which they are entitled to pension, by now leaving the service lose the right to claim their pension.
The order was at once enforced, and led to much complaint on the part of those unwilling to conform to it. The German and British ambassadors, who have many thousands of compatriots engaged on the Russian railways, have been powerless to unofficially effect any mitigation of the measure, though in some individual cases they have obtained exceptional favors; and they admit that as it is purely of internal regulation, their intervention on behalf of the sufferers cannot properly be claimed. Only two complaints thus far have been made to this legation; [Page 451] not so much in remonstrance against the order itself as to inquire regarding the penalty of thus losing American nationality and the right to regain it at a later day. * * *
I have declined to give” advice; I have limited myself to the expression of my belief that there is no law which hinders resumption of citizenship 5 that in all probability an American by birth, naturalized as a foreign subject, would, on declaration of intent to become an American citizen again, be treated as an alien, and as such be able to be naturalized; that perhaps greater facilities—fewer formalities—would be met with than in the case of a foreigner wishing to become an American citizen, but that I could find no statute bearing upon the subject.
It is now at the request of one of these complainants that I take the liberty to refer the question to you for an expression of opinion.
I have, &c.,