to Mr. Bayard.
Bogotá , February 25, 1888. (Received March 23.)
Sir: Francis W. Putnam, born in the United States, of American parents, and a resident of Colombia, on the 20th of December, 1884, obtained a passport from Minister Scruggs, as an American citizen. A short time subsequently he was convicted in a Colombian court of a felony, and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment, which he served out, and was discharged without a pardon. He now applies to this legation for a renewal of his passport, and I have deferred acting on his request until I am instructed from your Department.
The point about which I am in doubt is, whether or not this conviction in a court of a foreign country deprives the person of the right to demand a passport as an American citizen. I am of the opinion that legally it does not, but respectfully request to be instructed on this point. And also whether or not the diplomatic officers of the Government have the right to deny passports to persons of notoriously bad character, although their American citizenship be undoubted.
I am, etc.,