No. 623.
Mr. Strobel to Mr. Bayard.

No. 241.]

Sir: In accordance with instructions, an official statement has been requested of the minister of foreign affairs of the laws of Spain now in force “affecting the status or liabilities of former subjects, once owing military service, who have been naturalized in foreign countries, should such persons visit their native country.”

It may not be improper in the meantime to give what my own examination shows the law on the subject to be.

Article I of the constitution of 1876, now in force, says: “The quality of Spaniard is lost by naturalization in a foreign country, * * *”

Article 14 of the conscription law of July 11, 1885, also in force, makes the following provision: “Only Spaniards shall be admitted to service in the army in any position whatever.”

It seems, therefore, that a Spaniard naturalized in a foreign country is not only exempt, under any circumstances, from military service in Spain, but is actually prohibited therefrom.

I have assumed that the words, “once owing military service” in the instructions referred to, mean simply “liability” and not “actually drafted.”

In the latter case, the question of desertion or criminality under martial law might arise.

I have, etc.,

Edward H. Strobel.