Mr. Bayard to Mr. Emmet .
Washington , May 29, 1885.
Sir: This Department has received a dispatch of the 20th ultimo, from the United States consul at Beirut, stating that the Turkish bureau of nationality at Constantinople had recently declined to certify to the American citizenship of Messrs. Kevork Gulizyan and Bedros Iskiyan, on the ground that their passports did not show that they left the Ottoman Empire prior to the promulgation of the law of 1869 forbidding Turkish subjects to leave the country without permission to become naturalized in another country. The refusal referred to, for the reason alleged, seems so extraordinary, at least, that you will protest against it, and endeavor to have it corrected so far as it may have been or may be applied to the persons above referred to.
Passports are issued by this Department to naturalized citizens upon the production of the certificate of naturalization. There is no law of the United States requiring a passport to state when a naturalized citizen left the country of his birth, or to embody that statement in the passport. It has not been the practice of this Department to insert such a statement in the passports issued to former Turkish subjects or to any other naturalized citizens. A different course might imply that the right of the foreign government to participate in or to make the [Page 848] naturalization of its subjects conditional was acknowledged here. This it has never been and probably never will be.
The Turkish law referred to also seems to be defective or ambiguous, inasmuch as it assumes that every Ottoman subject who leaves his native country has an intention to become naturalized elsewhere. If this be the meaning of the law, it must be contrary to facts of daily occui rence in that Empire. It may be that Turks, in proportion to their number, do not travel as much as inhabitants of other countries. Still, it is believed that comparatively few of those who do go abroad leave home for the purpose of changing their nationality.
I have, &c.,