to Mr. Walker.
Washington, March 29, 1888.
Sir: In your No. 90, of the 28th ultimo, you state the case of Francis W. Putnam, an applicant for a passport.
Mr. Putnam is a native American citizen, a resident of the Republic of Colombia, and obtained, on December 20, 1884, a passport from Minister Scruggs. He was subsequently convicted in a Colombian court of a felony, sentenced to a term of imprisonment, which sentence he served out, when he was discharged without a pardon.
He now applies for a renewal of his passport, and you ask the opinion of the Department in the case.
The question presented is whether a foreign conviction of crime is a bar to an application by the party convicted for a passport, and the Department holds that it is not, because foreign convictions of crime are not to be regarded as extraterritorial in their operation.
It would be well, however, in the present case, before issuing a passport, to inquire whether the applicant retains his American nationality or whether he has abandoned it with no intention of renewal.
Allegiance and protection are correlative, and if the former has been forsaken the latter is no longer due. If the applicant has no intention of performing the duties of an American citizen he has no just claim for a certificate of such citizenship.
I am, etc.,