No. 620.

Mr. Porter to Mr. Winchester.

No. 4.]

Sir: Mr. Cramer’s No 235, of the 20th of June, asking for instructions in regard to issuing a passport to Mrs. Mary Blümeling, an inmate of an insane asylum at Pirminsberg, Switzerland, is received.

It appears that Mrs. Blümeling derives her American citizenship from her husband, Hermann Blümeling, who, as shown by a copy of his citizen-paper inclosed in Mr. Cramer’s dispatch, was duly naturalized in Jersey City on the 24th October, 1870, and therefore is entitled to have a passport.

The only objection to issuing the passport arises from the fact that the person applying for it having become insane cannot make the written application and affidavit and take the oath of allegiance as required by diplomatic regulations issued by this Department.

In answer to this it may be said that as a general rule the affidavits and other similar applications of the guardian or nearest friend of an insane person are received, where the object is to assert a right, as if made by the insane person himself. Even were this not the case, the regulations in regard to issuing passports are not imposed by Congress, but are discretionary with the Executive, and may at any time be interpreted or modified by the Department of State. They should certainly not be applied in such a way as to exclude from a passport persons by whom it may be most needed, as in the present case.

You are therefore instructed to issue a passport to Mrs. Blümeling in accordance with section 120 of personal instructions, the requisite declarations being made by her guardian or some friend acting for her. The name and date of birth of her minor child should also be inserted in the passport of the mother.

It is to be observed in this connection that the statute of 2d of August, 1882, prohibiting the immigration of a “lunatic, idiot, or any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge,” applies by its terms only to persons who are not citizens of the United States.

It is not understood from Mr. Cramer’s dispatch that the applicants &re unable to pay the usual passport free.

I am, &c.,

Acting Secretary.