Mr. Hall to
Guatemala , December 14, 1886. (Received January 4, 1887.)
Sir: The consul of the United States at San Salvador has asked for instructions in regard to the case of Mrs. Charlotte Dowdall de Arana, a native of the United States and the widow of a Spanish subject. I beg leave to report the principal facts as given to me by Mrs. Arana in 1883, and to refer the matter to the Department.
Under the new law* of Salvador, which requires that foreigners residing in that State shall be matriculated as such, they are also required, in certain cases, to produce, as proofs of citizenship, the certificates of diplomatic or consular officers. Mrs. Arana claims that by the death of her husband her original citizenship reverts, and that she is entitled to the protection of the United States.
From a letter that Mrs. Arana wrote to me in August, 1883, I gather the following concerning herself:
That she was born in Norwich, Conn., in 1846, of American parents. Her father’s name was Daniel Dowdall, and her mother’s maiden name was Eliza Smith; that her mother died when she was three years old, and that she was brought up by an aunt who lived in Massachusetts; that she was married in Kingston, Jamaica, on the 16th of April, 1869, to Mr. Manuel de Arana, a native of Vitoria, Spain, by profession a civil engineer. It appears that after their marriage they removed to Chili, where her two children, who are still minors, were born.
In 1879, or thereabouts, the family came to Salvador, where the husband died on the 13th of August, 1883. At the time of his death he was involved in contracts and business transactions with the Government of Salvador, out of which a claim has arisen which she has endeavored to prosecute through the Spanish legation, but thus far without success.
The only precedent having a close relation to this case that I have been able to find appears in Bentley’s Digest of the Official Opinions of [Page 85] the Attorneys-General under the head of “Citizenship,” pages 57 and 58, as follows:
7. A lady horn in this country of American parents married a Spanish subject residing here, but who was never naturalized; and with her husband and his child of three years of age, also born in this country, removed to Spain, where she lived till her husband’s death: Held, That the removal of the lady and her daughter to Spain, and their residence there, under the circumstances, were not evidence of an attempt on their part to expatriate themselves, and that they are still American citizens.
The difference between the two cases is that the parties were not married in the United States, nor does it appear that they ever resided there after their marriage.
I have heretofore informed Mrs. Arana that she and her children follow the nationality of her husband; of this I believe she was satisfied until advised that she has the right to assert and to regain her original citizenship. I shall be glad to receive your instructions upon the subject.
I have, etc.,
- A copy and translation of this law accompany the writer’s dispatch No. 574, dated October 27, 1886.↩