to Mr. Beach.
Washington, May 1, 1885.
Sir: Since the date of the last instruction to you in relation to the case of Julio E. Santos, the Department has received your dispatches No. 26, of February 28, 1885, and Nos. 29 and 30, of March 21, 1885; and also Mr. Reinberg’s dispatches Nos. 108 and 109, of March 24 and 27, 1885, and his No. 114, of the 18th ultimo, all on the same subject.
The Department has also received a number of affidavits from parties in the United States, testifying their knowledge of Mr. Santos’s intention to retain his domicil in the United States, here to maintain and fulfill his rights and duties as a citizen of this Republic. Copies of these affidavits are hereto annexed, and taken with those which you have obtained and forwarded in obedience to my telegraphic request, they establish the intention to return to the entire satisfaction of this Government. They thus meet the only ground which the Government of Ecuador has found for opposing the right of the United States to intervene in this case, and dispose of the assumption that by the naked fact of two years’ residence in Ecuador Mr. Santos has renounced his acquired and resumed his original allegiance.
The provision in respect of two years’ residence in the original country, after return thither, which is found in most of our naturalization treaties, is designed to afford presumptive evidence merely of the intent which is necessary to a valid resumption of the original allegiance. That presumption, like any other presumption, is open to rebuttal by satisfactory evidence, and the right of such rebuttal is inherent in the case and available in the party’s behalf, even where the treaty may be silent on the point. In our treaty with Ecuador, however, the right of rebuttal of the presumption of intent which may grow from two years’ [Page 252] residence is expressly stipulated, and this point is therefore removed from the field of argument.
It is part of the sovereignty of every nation to prescribe the terms on which the allegiance of its own citizens shall be acquired and preserved. In the treaty with Ecuador the United States waive a part of such right of decision by admitting that two years’ residence in Ecuador may create a presumption that their citizen intends to remain there. By stipulating for the right of rebuttal evidence on this point of intention, the United States wholly and absolutely regain that right of deciding as to the status of their citizens in a given case. That right is not transferred in any part to Ecuador; it is to be exercised exclusively by the United States as an attribute of their sovereignty. And Ecuador cannot meet that reserved right by any mere denial of the sufficiency of the rebutting evidence which may be satisfactory to the United States. The only privilege of surrebuttal which might remain open to Ecuador would be to show that the party had done some act working an overt, voluntary, and positive renunciation of his United States citizenship of which the laws of Ecuador take cognizance, or which they may prescribe as a condition to the acquisition or recovery of Ecuadorian citizenship. In other words, no surrebuttal is admissible as to intent, but must rest on the full ascertainment of legal fact.
This Government has pushed its construction of the sufficiency of the rebutting evidence beyond the needs of what would have been enough in any ordinary case in order that its conclusion, when reached, should not only be final as of right, but convincing also to the Government of Ecuador, to which it may be communicated as a matter of courtesy.
This conclusion is that the rebutting evidence submitted by and on behalf of Mr. Julio R. Santos establishes his continuous intent to return to the United States, here to discharge the duties of an American citizen; and it furthermore establishes his open and continuous assertion of his American citizenship during the whole period of his sojourn in Ecuador.
This Government must therefore hold that the question of Mr. Santos’s citizenship, under the treaty clauses is no longer debatable, and must likewise hold and firmly insist that Mr. Santos’s rights as a citizen of the United States shall be respected in all matters touching any charge which may have been or be preferred against him of violating the laws of the land of his temporary sojourn. We insist that in the event of such charges being brought against him he shall have immediate and full cognizance thereof, with every opportunity and guarantee of defense in open trial as completely as any other citizen of the United States would be entitled to in Ecuador, or as any citizen of Ecuador would be entitled to and would receive if on trial in the United States. We insist that if no charges be forthcoming, or no trial held without delay, he shall be released. And we insist further that in respect of his property, real or personal, within the jurisdiction of Ecuador, he shall have the same absolute and perfect protection at the hands of the Ecuadorian authorities, and through the official intervention of the representatives of the United States as any other citizen of the United States would be entitled to and must receive under existing treaties and under the law of nations.
In addition to the affidavits, of which copies are transmitted herewith, I send you copy of the opinion on Mr. Santos’s case prepared by the law officer of this Department, in whose conclusions I concur.
In presenting these facts and conclusions to the Government of Ecuador, you will point out that this Government has strained the point of [Page 253] courteous deference to the contention of that of Ecuador to the uttermost, and that an American citizen has lain in prison in Ecuador for months without trial, and virtually without knowledge of any tangible accusation against him on which trial might be had, pending submission to this Government of the proof of citizenship, and pending the conscientious examination of that proof. The delay which has thus supervened in the conduct of this case having been now removed and an impartial, equitable, and final conclusion of the question of disputed citizenship having been reached, no further delay in doing justice to Mr. Santos can be expected from the Government of Ecuador, or be permitted by, the Government of the United States, without condoning a manifest evasion of the treaty obligations of Ecuador to the continued and wrongful prejudice of a citizen of the United States, whose just rights the President is bound to protect, and will protect, by all the means within his constitutional power.
This instruction will be handed to you by Commander Mahan, of the U. S. S. Wachusett, who revisits the waters of Ecuador by direction of the Secretary of the Navy for that purpose. Commander Mahan will be instructed to remain within reach pending the prompt disposal of Mr. Santos’s case, and, in the probable event of his release, he will be afforded an opportunity to return to the United States on the Wachusett, by way of Panama, should he so desire.
The energy shown by you and Mr. Reinberg in the conduct of this matter hitherto deserves commendation, and it is trusted that your continued zeal and good judgment will help to bring about under the present instruction a speedy and satisfactory ending of this already too long delayed case.
I am, &c.,