No. 423.
Mr. Wallace to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 350.]

Sir: I have the honor to forward for your information a copy and translation of a communication received yesterday from the Sublime Porte relative to certain persons in Jerusalem claiming to be naturalized citizens of the United States, but whose claims the Sublime Porte could not recognize.

The subject is fully disclosed in my dispatch to the Department, No. 315, dated January 24, 1884.

The explanation given by the minister of foreign affairs in the present paper will doubtless be satisfactory, and serve to remove the idea that the Sublime Porte was contemplating assumption of a right to decide upon questions of Amercan naturalization.

To prevent possible complications between the imperial authorities of Jerusalem and Mr. Merrill, our consul there, and especially to reserve to the latter the decision of claims of right to his protection, I have thought it best to send him the additional instruction referred to in my reply to the minister of foreign affairs, a copy of which is also herewith inclosed.

Very respectfully, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 350.—Translation.]

Aarifi Pasha to Mr. Wallace.

Monsieur l’Envoyé: I received the note your excellency did me the honor to address me on the 24th of January last, No. 196, in answer to the note verbale of my department, dated January 22, No. 73375, 1, relative to some individuals, formerly Russian subjects, who would seem to be trying to place themselves under the protection of the United States consulate at Jerusalem.

The observations your excellency makes in connection with this question renders it my duty to return to the import and the real meaning of my communication.

The imperial ministry had no intention of generally discussing the question of naturalization or foreign nationality. Its intention was neither to contest the validity of the naturalization obtained in the United States by persons who are not of Turkish origin nor to establish a control on the change of nationality effected in this way by them. Still less had it the idea of questioning the status of real American citizens residing in the territory of the Ottoman Empire.

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The object of the above-mentioned note was simply to call the attention of the United States legation to the particular and altogether irregular case of some persons, formerly Russian subjects, who left their country to come and establish themselves at Jerusalem, and who, without ever having been in America, claim the privileges of American citizens. In disputing the right, these individuals have conferred upon themselves, the Sublime Porte rests on the incontestable principle everywhere recognized in matters concerning change of nationality.

Any individual who desires to renounce his original nationality and become the subject or citizen of another state, must have emigrated from his native country and have established himself in the country which in future is to become his adopted country.

This has not been the case with the former Russian subjects mentioned in the note of my department.

They have at no time made a sojourn in the United States, and the naturalization they claim to have obtained being but fictitious and delusive the Sublime Porte cannot recognize them. The Imperial Government considers any inhabitant of the Empire who does not belong to another country, or has ceased to have another nationality, as a Turkish subject, and must regard any foreign naturalization of such individuals, when obtained during their residence in the Ottoman Empire, as irregular and fictitious.

I am pleased to hope, Monsieur l’Envoyé, that the above explanations will suffice to clear away any misunderstanding which may have arisen from my preceding communication, and will give your excellency to understand the motives for which the Imperial Government must continue to consider as Turkish subjects the former Russian subjects mentioned in the preceding note verbale from my department.

Accept, &c.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 350.]

Mr. Wallace to Aarifi Pasha.

Highness: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the note No. 73820, 10, and dated March 11 instant, which you kindly addressed to me relative to certain persons, formerly Russian subjects, and at present in Jerusalem, claiming to be United States citizens, but whose naturalization you impeach on the ground that they have never been in the United States.

I hasten to thank your highness for the very clear explanation given in the present note, and to say that I will take pleasure in immediately forwarding it to the authorities of my Government.

I will also cause it to be communicated to the American consul at Jerusalem.

By reference to my note No. 196, January 24 last, your highness will observe the classification there given of persons who might be at present in Jerusalem claiming to be naturalized citizens of the United States of America.

The first class is of those who have no ground for such claim, not having taken out the first paper required of them by the law.

These the consul is instructed to inform that they have no right to protection by my Government; and following the present note of your highness it will be my duty to further instruct the American consul at Jerusalem to furnish his excellency the governor of Jerusalem with a copy of the list of persons whom, upon investigation, he discovers to be fairly within the definition of the said first class.

I avail, &c.,