Mr. Kasson to Mr.
the United States,
January 6, 1885.
(Received January 24.)
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith an
important note from the German foreign office, dated December 31, 1884,
conveying its decision in the case of Ferdinand Revermann, together with
copies of all correspondence relating to the same between this legation and
the German Government. This case is made the occasion for the declaration of
two rules to be hereafter observed by the united German Governments, as
- Fathers naturalized in America and returning to Germany to reside,
and there sojourning for more than two years, are to be regarded as
having renounced their naturalization, under the provisions of the
treaty of 1868.
- But minor children of such parents born in America will be
recognized as retaining their American citizenship, uninfluenced by
the father’s renunciation of his naturalization; and they cannot be
made to perform military service in Germany; but their sojourn in
Germany may be refused, under the principles of international law,
when the same may be required in the interest of public
* * * * * * *
I have, &c.,
[Inclosure 1 in No. 124.]
Mr. Kasson to Count
Legation of the United States,
The undersigned, envoy, &c., of the United States of America, begs to
lay before his excellency Count Hatzfeldt, imperial secretary of state,
&c., the following facts, as communicated to this legation, touching
the proposed expulsion of a native American citizen, Ferdinand
Revermann, from the German Empire:
- The father of the young man in question, Henry Joseph
Revermann, emigrated to the United States in 1850; was duly
naturalized in the State of Illinois, at Joliet, [Page 393] in 1856, and resided continuously
in the United States as a citizen until 1871, in which year he
returned to Germany, bringing with him a regular passport for
himself and his family as American citizens.
- The son Ferdinand, now 25 years of age, was born at
Naperville, in Illinois, in October, 1860, and is therefore a
native American citizen, and has now been residing peacefully
and orderly at Münster, in Westphalia, where his father also
The Landrath, at Münster, in 1880, certified that as he was born a
citizen of the United States his name would be stricken from the
military rolls and this was done. He was, however, on the 11th of this
month summoned before the Landrath, at Münster, and told that by order
of the Royal Government at Münster he must either become naturalized in
Germany or leave the country. Against this action he appealed by protest
to the said Royal Government, and on the 17th instant received a reply
declining to modify the order, and directing the expulsion of said
Ferdinand if he does not apply for naturalization in 3 days. He declined
to be naturalized and applied for 4 weeks’ time to prepare for leaving,
also offering security that at the end of that time he would leave.
In answer he was told verbally to leave by November 1st or he would be
put out, or into prison. Thereupon he applied to this legation to
intervene for a suspension of this order and its reversal. It is alleged
that he has conducted himself in a peaceful and orderly manner while
living in Germany as a native American citizen, in perfect obedience to
The undersigned, in view of the imminence of the date (November 1) for
the forcible expulsion of said Ferdinand, begs that his excellency will
take such measures that the order complained of maybe at once suspended
until the investigation be made; and that if the facts shall be found to
be truly stated the order may be wholly revoked.
While inclosing the order of the Royal Government at Münster, dated the
17th instant, and addressed to Revermann’s counsel, with the respectful
request for its ultimate return, the undersigned avails himself,
[Inclosure 2 in No.
Dr. Busch to Mr.
December 31, 1884.
The undersigned has received the note of October 31 ultimo, relating to
Ferdinand Revermann, of Mr. John A. Kasson, envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, and has the
honor to make the following reply thereto:
The investigation made has resulted in showing that the statements made
in the note referred to respecting Revermann are correct. Ferdinand
Revermann was born in America in 1860, and returned in 1871 to Germany,
to reside there permanently, in company with his father, Heinrich Joseph
Revermann, who emigrated from Germany in the year 1850, and was
naturalized as an American citizen in the United States of America in
The same circumstances exist, therefore, with respect to Ferdinand
Revermann as in the cases of Georg Weigand (Wiegand), of Philadelphia,
and the brothers Oppenheimer, at Frankfort-on-the-Main, which were
submitted here for discussion in the esteemed notes of July 6 and
November 8, 1881, respectively.
Prompted by these two special cases, the Government of His Majesty the
Emperor, had already assumed the task of causing a close examination to
be made respecting the legal status of the sons of those Germans who, as
naturalized citizens of the United States of America, had during the
minority of their sons, born in America, returned in their company to
Germany to reside there permanently.
As regards the fathers of such sons, no doubt can exist that they are to
be regarded as having renounced their naturalization by a longer sojourn
than one or two years, pursuant to the treaties regulating nationality
of 1868, concluded with the United States. The provisions of these
treaties do not, however, extend to the minor children of persons
naturalized in America. The rules there prescribed cannot, therefore,
find any application to the legal status of these children.
This legal status should, therefore, be judged rather by the principles
of law governing in the United States, in view of the fact that the
children have been born in America, and have thereby, apart from the
naturalization of the fathers, independently acquired American
American law, so far as known here, contains no provision which makes the
renunciation of American naturalization by the father act upon his minor
The Government of His Majesty the Emperor has therefore no hesitation in
recognizing such persons as American citizens, in harmony with the views
expressed in the notes referred to. Individuals possessing this
character cannot he made to perform military service in Germany. But
international principles permit the refusal to such persons of sojourn
in Germany, and the adoption of measures against them, as soon as such
course shall seem requisite in the interest of public order. This
condition is assumed to exist by this Government when the actual
circumstances indicate that the persons in question use their American
citizenship only for the purpose of withdrawing themselves from the
duties, and in particular from the military duty, devolving upon the
domestic population, without being disposed to abandon their permanent
sojourn in Germany and the advantages connected therewith. In such cases
the less objection can be found to the adoption of the measure of
expulsion, in view of the circumstance that American protection is
customarily refused to persons who have left America while minors and
have taken up their residence abroad.
In view of the principles thus presented, in accordance with which the
purpose to act in future in all such cases, the undersigned regrets that
he does not find himself in a position to cause a change to be made in
the measures taken against the brothers Oppenheimer and against
The case of Weigand (Wiegand) has in the mean time been disposed of by
his return to America.
While the undersigned permits himself to return herewith the inclosure of
the note of October 31 last, he avails, &c.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 124]
Mr. Kasson to Dr.
Legation of the United States,
The undersigned, envoy, &c., of the United States of America,
acknowledges the reception of the valued note in which Dr. Busch, under
secretary of state, &c., has been pleased to advise him of the
conclusion to which his Imperial Majesty’s Government has come in the
case of Ferdinand Revermann.
While reserving the questions involved for the appreciation of his
Government, the undersigned allows himself to offer two observations
upon the contents of the note.
- It is believed that the foreign office is under a misapprehension
in assuming “that American protection is customarily refused to
persons who have left America while minors and have taken up their
residence in a foreign country.” So far as this legation is aware,
such protection cannot be refused to American citizens who left
their country while minors, except when after coming of age they
have voluntarily abandoned or forfeited their American
- It is also believed that in cases where the local authorities
enforced such orders as the one in question, a reasonable time
should always be allowed between the notification and the execution
of the order to permit the resident stranger to arrange his affairs
for such an emergency, and especially where no bad action is charged
as the occasion of the order of expulsion.
Submitting this observation to the just consideration of the department
of foreign affairs, the undersigned avails, &c.