No. 508.

Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard .

No. 9.]

Sir: Your dispatch of the 30th ultimo, respecting the case of Israel Müller, a naturalised American citizen, was received to-day. I have reviewed the correspondence already had on that subject.

The case was first made known to this legation by your dispatch of May 25 last, covering an affidavit of Mr. Müller, made at Brooklyn, N. Y., May 1 last. By this it appears that Mr. Müller was born in Russia November 30, 1831, of Russian parents, still living there $ that Müller emigrated to America in October, 1859, being then, as appears, about twenty-eight years of age. On December 6, 1884, he was naturalized at Brooklyn, and bearing an American passport he returned to his native town early in February of the following year; that, after a few days’ sojourn there, he was arrested, and after suffering imprisonment for a few days, was released on bail. Subsequently he escaped from Russia and returned to the United States.

So far as appears from the papers Mr. Müller was not charged with any offense, except that he had, without leave, emigrated and renounced his allegiance and duties to the Russian Government.

It is undoubtedly the doctrine of the Government of the United States that a subject of one country has a right to transfer his allegiance and become a citizen of another. But Russia, so far as its own subjects are concerned, has steadfastly refused to recognize this doctrine. The Russian view of this is fully and lucidly set out in the dispatch of Mr. Wurts (No. 51) of June 14 last, and to which I beg leave to refer, and I also refer to the opinion of Dr. Francis Wharton, of date July 8 last, rendered to you, sanctioning Mr. Wurts’s views.

I infer that the position of the Russian Government is that Mr. Müller violated the laws of his native country by emigrating without leave, assuming foreign citizenship, and thereby avoiding unlawfully his military obligations. While this position of the Russian Government is repugnant to American ideas and policy, and, as we believe, violates natural rights, yet it can hardly be said to be condemned by recognized international law. Under the earnest pressure of the United States, many modern nations, by treaty, have assented to our equitable doctrine on this point, and we hope the day is not distant when it will be universally recognized.

But, as already shown, Russia absolutely refuses to assent to it. Indeed, as shown by Mr. Wurts, she has rejected our frequent overtures to enter into new treaty stipulations with us on the subject, the last being in 1884. In this state of facts there seems little hope of any sucessful application to the Russian Government for redress. Indeed Mr. Müller has not made any claim for damages, nor has this legation received any instruction to make any for him. * * *

I may mention that the difficulty is much aggravated by the intense anti-Jewish feeling that seems to exist throughout Russia. It is all the more unmanageable because it is wholly unreasoning. Nearly every case that arises is that of a Jew who has emigrated; and the popular hostility to the Jewish race enters into all those difficulties. So far as I can judge the Government is much more favorably disposed towards the Jews than are the people at large.

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I shall await any instructions that the Department of State may give me, and if thought expedient will again invite the attention of the Russian Government to the desirableness of some treaty adjustment.

I have, &c.,