No. 354.
Mr. Vignaud to Mr. Bayard.

No. 520.]

Sir: By referring to dispatch No. 519 of this legation, of date December 16, acquainting you with the circumstances of the case of Gendrot, you will see that on the 15th instant I wrote to Mr. Flourens that I had been informed that this American citizen had received notice to join a French regiment, and that I trusted such information was incorrect, as Mr. McLane had fully established the right of the United States Government to claim Gendrot.

On that very day Mr. Flourens had written me that no irregularity had been committed in the case of Gendrot, who, being the son of a Frenchman, was liable to military service in France although born in another country.

I replied immediately that I had read his communication with surprise and regret, because I anticipated that my Government would not admit his pretension, and I begged him to suspend his action and to examine again in a friendly spirit the principles involved in the matter.

I send herewith a copy and a translation of the correspondence.

I have, etc.,

Henry Vignaud.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 520.—Translation.]

Mr. Flourens to Mr. Vignaud.

Sir: On the 11th of November last I informed Mr. McLane that the minister of war was only waiting, to decide upon the case of Gendrot, for the arrival of certain information from the prefect of the Sarthe and the officer in charge of the recruiting office of Mamers, which he had asked for.

General Logerot announces to me to-day that it appears from information transmitted to his department that the interested party was, as a matter of course, and by the application of articles 8 and 10 of the law of the 27th of July, 1872, placed upon the recruiting list in the commune of Toreé, where his father is domiciled, who there has the enjoyment of his civil and political rights. In support of the protest which Gendrot has made against this enrollment he has produced only a certificate showing that he was born the 29th of April, 1866, at Cambridge, State of Massachusetts. By the French law the person born abroad of French parents is French, and it is for this reason that the enrollment of Gendrot has been maintained by the council of revision.

In this state of things my colleague is of the opinion that no irregularity has been committed to Gendrot’s prejudice, and begs me to express to you his regrets that he is not in a position to delay any longer calling this young man to serve under our flag.

Receive, etc.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 520.]

Mr. Vignaud to Mr. Flourens.

Sir: I have read with surprise and regret your communication of the 15th instant, concerning the Gendrot case, which crossed mine of the same date.

I might understand that the Government of the Republic should claim those who, born in France, have changed their nationality before complying with the French [Page 498] military laws, but that it should claim as Frenchmen native-born Americans who happen to be temporarily in France is a contention which the United States Government will refuse to admit, I have no doubt. I therefore beg your excellency to suspend the decision taken with reference to Gendrot, and to examine again in a conciliatory spirit the questions of principle involved in this case.

The information transmitted to the minister of war, and communicated to me by your excellency, adds no new element to the question. Mr. McLane knew that it was in accordance with law that Gendrot’s name was inscribed on the recruiting list; he knew also that no irregularity had been committed with reference to French law, and so he did not base his remonstrance on such a ground, but on the higher ground of the consideration which is due by friendly governments to their respective sovereignties. To claim as a Frenchman a man in the situation of Gendrot is to seek to take away from the legitimate jurisdiction of the United States a natural-born American, to place him, against his will and against the protest of the United States, under the jurisdiction of France, where he accidentally finds himself, and to which he is bound by no other tie save the nationality of his father.

It is to this consideration that I call your attention. Gendrot’s case is not one to which the doctrine of jus sanguinis can be strictly applied. Gendrot was not born in the United States by accident. His father was not passing through the country. He was, on the contrary, regularly domiciled, and lived there for thirty years; he brought up his son there and gave him an American education. Gendrot, jr., did not come to France to establish himself, but to pursue certain studies, after which he proposed to return to the country of his birth, a country of which he has the manners, of which he speaks the language, which he considers as, and which really is, his own.

Your excellency says that, in support of his plea against his inscription on the recruiting list, Gendrot produced nothing but a certificate showing that he was born April 29, 1866, at Cambridge, Mass. But he produced also his passport, and what more could he have done? Besides his certificate of birth and his passport what other paper can a Frenchman traveling abroad produce to establish his nationality?

I venture to hope that, if your excellency will give his attention to these considerations, he will spare this legation the mortification of having to inform the United States Government that it has failed in a demand which will strike every American as well founded, and to which they all attach great importance.

I avail, etc.,

Henry Vignaud,
Chargé, etc.