No. 431.
Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Wallace.

No. 174.]

Sir: Your No. 350, of the 12th ultimo, in further reference to the question of certain persons, of Russian origin, domiciled in Jerusalem, and claiming to be citizens of the United States, has been received.

My No. 162 to you, of the 25th ultimo, anticipated in some points a reply to your present dispatch.

It appears that the Turkish Government disclaims intention to interfere with any persons who may show that they have duly acquired the status of citizens of the United States, and that it merely seeks to call the attention of the legation to the irregular case of persons within Turkish jurisdiction, who, “without ever having been in America, claim the privileges of American citizens.”

It seems unnecessary to discuss the broad contention on which the Sublime Porte rests its argument, that no change of allegiance can be made unless the person affected be actually an emigrant to and resident in the country of his allegiance. It is sufficient for the purposes of the present question that the laws of the United States contemplate such actual presence and residence within their jurisdiction, and it is the effect of naturalization under those laws that we must take as a starting point, and not a general theorem which may involve the right of the person to change his allegiance.

To make this point clearer, the Porte claims that the persons in question “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.” Granting that the conclusion is correct, the fictitious and delusive character of the alleged naturalization would have to be determined with respect to the naturalization laws of the United States, and not in conformity with a theoretical declaration of the Turkish Government.

Inasmuch as this contention of the Porte coincides in fact with our naturalization laws as to those persons, natives of a third country, who may never have taken the lawful steps to become citizens of the United States, that is, as to persons of the “first class,” described in your previous dispatch No. 315, of January 24, 1884, your reply to his excellency Aarifi, of March 12, and your instructions to the consul at Jerusalem are approved, so far as that class of persons is concerned.

As to the “third class” you describe, those fully naturalized, there can be no doubt of their rights, and of the Porte’s entire willingness to recognize those rights.

The “second class” embracing persons who, having taken out their first papers conformably to our law, may be found thereafter in Turkish jurisdiction, does not appear to be touched by the minister’s reply, unless his delaration that “the Imperial Government must continue to consider as Turkish subjects the former Russian subjects mentioned” is to be construed as applying to such persons. My No. 162, of the 25th ultimo, will have shown you that I take some pains to reserve any partial rights which an alien may acquire by declaring his intention to become a citizen of the United States. It is not thought likely that any specific case will present this issue, and you may not now need to do more than generally reserve it. But if a case should arise, you will claim that the [Page 561] person affected shall not be deemed to have become a subject of the Porte until after he shall have had full option to avail himself of his previous declaration of intention and to complete his naturalization conformably to our laws.

I am, &c.,