to Mr. Lee.
Washington, July 24, 1886.
Sir: Your No. 192, of the 1st instant, in reference to Mr. Friedrich de Bourry’s claim for a passport, is now before me, and I take the opportunity to express my satisfaction with the clearness of its statements, and the accuracy of the distinctions it makes.
Friedrich de Bourry, according to the allegations in his memorial, was born in the city of New York on December 4, 1862, of Austrian [Page 13] parents, then temporarily resident in that city, and there remained with them until he was five years of age, when he accompanied his mother to Europe. In 1869 he and his mother, residing in Vienna, were joined in that city by his father, who died in 1880. Under the Austrian Government Friedrich de Bourry, the memorialist, has remained until this day, employed in the Austrian railway service. It is not claimed that his father was ever naturalized, or made the requisite declaration of his intention to become a citizen of the United States, or in any way signified his intention formally to abjure his Austrian allegiance. Nor is it pretended that when, on December 5, 1883, the present memorialist arrived at full age, he took any steps to make or record his election of citizenship in the United States. For several years before that date he was old enough, with his mother’s permission, which it is plain from her affidavit she was ready to give, to come to the country of his birth if it had been the country of his intended citizenship. He alleges no effort of this kind, nor any act or event indicating his election of United States citizenship when he arrived at full age.
Under these circumstances it is not necessary for me to consider the question whether Friedrich de Bourry was, at the time of his birth, a citizen of the United States under the naturalization statutes and the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution of the United States. It is enough to say that he has exhibited no such proof of an election, on arriving at full age, of United States citizenship as now entitles him to a passport. An election in a case of dual or doubtful allegiance, which is the utmost which can be claimed in the present case, must be made on attaining majority, or shortly afterwards, and must be signified by acts plainly expressive of intention, such as immediate preparations to return to the elected country.
In the present case there is no evidence that an election to become a citizen of the United States was ever made or intended, but on the contrary all the facts create the presumption that an Austrian domicile was chosen.
The passport must therefore be refused.
I am, sir, &c.,