Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Cramer.
Washington, February 13, 1885.
Sir: Your dispatch No. 199, of the 22d ultimo, in relation to the case of an orphan boy now resident in the city and canton of Zurich has been received.
As is shown by the inclosures of your dispatch, he was born in New York on the 7th of September, 1866. His mother obtained a passport as an American citizen from your legation in 1871. She and her son having gone back to Switzerland in that year, the mother has since died and the youth resided in Switzerland since 1871. He is so far [Page 796] a citizen of the United States that he may, on obtaining his majority, (twenty-one years) elect which nationality he will adhere to, the United States or Switzerland, and until he attain such age he is entitled, as a citizen of the United States residing in Switzerland, to the protection of this Government; and consequently he is entitled to a passport. The passport issued by your predecessor (Mr. Rublee) to the mother, is marked “gratis,” the lady being, as is supposed, in needy circumstances at the time, and you add that the young man is working as an apprentice, receiving as compensation only his board and clothing; and under these circumstances you desire to be instructed whether you may issue a passport to him without the required fee of $5.
The fee in question is prescribed by act of Congress, and I have no authority of law to give you express permission to dispense with that charge.
I am, &c.,