to Mr. Hall
Washington , January 6, 1887.
Sir: Your dispatch No. 595, of December 14, 1886, has been received. It relates to the case of Mrs. Charlotte Dowdall de Arana, who, having been born in the United States in 1846, of American parents, and having married in 1869 a Spanish subject, Mr. Manuel de Arana, now claims that by the death of her husband, in 1883, her United States citizenship has revived.
In a case similar to the present, Mr. Fish, in instructions dated February 24, 1871, to Mr. Washburne, then minister to France, after observing that by the law of England and the United States an alien woman on her marriage with a subject or citizen merges her nationality in that of her husband, proceeded as follows:
But the converse has never been established as the law of the United States, and only by the act of Parliament of May 12, 1870, did it become British law that an English woman lost her quality of a British subject by marrying an alien. The continental codes, on the other hand, enable a woman whose nationality of origin has been changed by marriage to resume it when she becomes a widow, on the condition, however, of her returning to the country of her origin.
The widow to whom you refer may, as a matter of strict law, remain a citizen, but as a citizen has no absolute right to a passport, and as the law of the United States has outside of their jurisdiction only such force as foreign nations may choose to accord it in their own territory, I think it judicious to withhold passports in such cases unless the widow gives evidence of her intention to resume her residence in the United States.
I am not disposed to depart from this precedent, which may be readily reconciled with the opinion of Attorney-Generals Bates (10 Op., 321), Stanbery (12 Op., 7), and Hoar (13 Op., 128).
Under these circumstances I must hold that Mrs. Arana as long as she remains without the jurisdiction of this Government is not entitled to the privileges of a citizen of the United States, so far at least as would entitle her to diplomatic interposition on her behalf against the Government of Salvador on a claim accruing since her marriage and departure from the United States.
I am, etc.,