No. 356.
Mr. Vignaud to Mr. Bayard.

No. 526.]

Sir: I have the honor to send herewith a copy and translation of Mr. Flourens’ reply to my last communication, insisting upon the discharge of Gendrot. Mr. Flourens says the minister of war can not comply with the request, and repeats the usual reply made by his department to applications of this kind having reference to French naturalized Americans, viz, that Gendrot can apply to the courts of justice, and that if he secures a judgment declaring that he is not a Frenchman he will be discharged.

Mr. Flourens is undoubtedly aware that the remedy he suggests here is, in this peculiar case, illusive. The French courts of justice can adjudge that a Frenchman who has been naturalized abroad has lost his original national character, because French law so states it. But Gendrot being a natural-born American, son of a Frenchman, remains a Frenchman according to French law. His application to the courts can not therefore be successful. It seems that he has so understood his case, for I am informed by his father that, being about to be arrested again and imprisoned, he has left France.

I have, etc.,

Henry Vignaud.
[Inclosure in No. 526.—Translation.]

Mr. Flourens to Mr. Vignaud.

Sir: On the 17th of this month you were good enough to write to me again upon the subject of the young man Gendrot, born in the United States of French parents. You insisted in that communication upon obtaining the exemption of that person from military service under our flag.

The minister of war, to whom I had not failed to refer your letter, recalls the fact that Gendrot, born abroad of a French father, since the latter is in the enjoyment at Torcé (Sarthe) of his civil and political rights, is a Frenchman by the terms of article 10 of the civil code, his position from the point of view of military service is therefore not doubtful and would be the same, as far as France is concerned, whatever might be the country where the interested party was born.

My colleague adds that if Gendrot insists upon claiming American citizenship, he is at liberty, in order to establish his true position, to apply to the civil courts, which are alone competent, according to the rules of our law, to decide upon questions relating to the status of persons. Only upon seeing a decision of our courts declaring the young man in question a foreigner can the military authorities consent to order that his name be stricken from the rolls of our army.

I can, therefore, only express to you again my regrets at not being in a position to further the interest which you take in the situation of Gendrot.

Accept, etc.,