Mr. Bayard to Mr. Pendleton .
Washington , May 12, 1885.
Sir: With reference to Mr. Kasson’s dispatch No. 240, of the 16th ultimo, in relation to the citizenship of Mr. John L. Geist, I have to inform you that upon consideration of the facts as presented by Mr. Kasson, this Department holds that Mr. Geist is entitled to a passport as an American citizen for the following reasons:
- At the time of his birth, his political as well as his civil status was in the United States.
- Under ordinary circumstances his status in both relations would have followed that of his father when his father returned to Germany from the United States and resumed his German nationality. But the father’s resumption of German nationality by its own terms excluded from its purview the case of his son, Mr. John L. Geist. The doctrine of the changing of an infant’s nationality with the nationality and domicil of the father rests on the assumption that such is the father’s will and that the change is in submission to his paternal power. When, as in the present case, the father’s will is that the child should retain his prior nationality and domicil, then the father’s change of nationality and domicil does not affect the child. In the present case the position, is not one of arbitrary technicality. It is obvious that the father intended that the son, John L. Geist, should return to the United States after a temporary sojourn in Germany, and it is obvious, also, that the boy joined in this intention.
- The German Government not only accepted the father’s change of nationality, charged as it was with the reservation of the son’s nationality continuing in the United States, but by requiring the son to return to this country at a specific period, the continuance of the son’s American nationality was formally conceded.
You will be guided by the principles laid down above should any further action by your legation be called for in reference to the case of John L. Geist.
I am, &c.,