Mr. Bayard to Mr. Romero.
Washington, June 19, 1886.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 16th instant, informing me that, by the thirty-ninth section of a law enacted by the Mexican Congress and proclaimed May 28th last, the laws which have hitherto prescribed the matriculation of aliens are repealed, leaving it optional with foreigners sojourning in Mexico to apply for a certificate of their nationality, which will be issued to them by the secretary of foreign relations.
I am in receipt of a copy of the law of 28th May, sent hither by the United States legation in Mexico, and a perusal of its text confirms the gratifying impression conveyed by your note, that the substitution of an optional registration of foreigners as presumptive evidence of their status in place of compulsory matriculation as the sole condition of proving alien status in Mexico, and enjoying international rights pertaining to such status, will remove the grounds of complaint which have heretofore obstructed the friendly consideration of international questions by the two Governments.
I observe, however, that the same section, the thirty-ninth, to which you refer, provides that “the definite proof of determinate nationality shall be made before competent courts and by the means established by the laws or treaties.” Reserving the point until it shall be better understood, I may express my confidence that nothing in Mexican domestic legislation or in the judicial proceedings thereunder will be found calculated to impair, as the compulsory system of matriculation has heretofore appeared to do, the reciprocal right and duty of a citizen of the United States in respect of the national protection to which he is entitled and the allegiance he owes.
Accept, sir, &c.,