No. 366.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. McLane.

No. 302.]

Sir: I inclose for your information copy of a letter lately received from Senator William M. Stewart, with its inclosure, being a letter addressed to him and Senator Jones, jointly, by Governor Stevenson, of Nevada, and of my reply to Senator Stewart of this date, all having reference to the case of Mr. Fruchier, an American citizen constrained to service in the armies of France, touching which you were instructed [Page 514] by the Department’s No. 217, of April 16, 1887, and No. 268, of October 20, 1887.

In my reply to the Senator you will observe that I have briefly summarized the position laid down on behalf of this Government touching the right of expatriation, and the sufficiency of the judicial decree of the competent tribunal in proof of the fact, as set forth in my No. 298 of the 15th instant.

The case of Mr. Fruchier seems to be well adapted to test the question now in controversy, and, with a view to completing the record here, I have to request you to send me transcripts of your correspondence with the French Government in relation thereto, the result of which you communicated to me by your No. 495, of 4th November last.

I am, etc.,

T. F. Bayard,
[Inclosure 1 in No. 302.]

Mr. Stewart to Mr. Bayard.

Sir: Inclosed find letter from the governor of Nevada, C. C. Stevenson, in regard to John Fruchier, an American citizen, who was pressed into the military service of France some fourteen months ago while on a visit to relatives. It seems to me to be a matter requiring the attention of your Department. Please inform me what has been done in the matter.

Yours, etc.,

Wm. M. Stewart.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 302.]

Governor Stevenson to Mr. Stewart, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Woodburn.

Gentlemen: John Fruchier, a native of France, was naturalized in the district court of this State, in Douglas County. Ex-State Senator H. F. Dangberg and Assemblyman H. Springmeyer were his witnesses when he obtained his final papers; and he was in Mr. Dangberg’s employ as a farm hand some years.

In November, 1886, he concluded to visit his relatives in France, and arrived there in December, 1886, when he was at once pressed into the military service of France, and there remains.

My attention was called to this matter by Mr. Dangberg last March, and on the 24th of that month I wrote to Hon. T. F. Bayard, Secretary of State, and (inclosing a certified copy of Mr. Fruchier’s naturalization certificate and the affidavits of Messrs. Dangberg and Springmeyer as to identity) laid the matter before him as fully as it was in my power to do, and urged that appropriate action be taken in the premises. On April 16, 1887, Acting Secretary A. A. Adee wrote me that the papers had been received, and “Mr. McLane, our minister at Paris, had been instructed to bring the matter to the attention of the French Government with a view to securing the discharge of Mr. Fruchier from the French army if possible.”

I wrote Mr. Bayard on the subject again on June 9, and still again on October 11, 1887, but the above is all the definite information received to date from Mr. Bayard.

Mr. Fruchier has many and warm friends in Nevada, who naturally feel indignant that he, an American citizen, has been now nearly fourteen months in the constrained military service of a foreign government.

Will you not, gentlemen, look into this matter, and see if something can be done for our wronged fellow-citizen?

I am, etc.,

C. C. Stevenson,
Governor.

Hons. W. M. Stewart
and
John P. Jones
,
U. S. Senate
, and
Hon. Wm. Woodburn,
House of Representatives,
Washington, D. C.
[Page 515]
[Inclosure 3 in No. 302.]

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Stewart.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 18th instant, inclosing a communication addressed to you and your colleague, Senator Jones, jointly, by the governor of the State of Nevada, relative to the case of John Fruchier, a naturalized citizen of the United States, of French birth, who, on returning to France on a visit to his relatives some fourteen months ago, was pressed into the military service of France.

The case having been brought to the attention of this Department by Governor Stevenson’s letter of March 24, the papers submitted by him, including certified copy of the decree of the competent court of record naturalizing Mr. Fruchier, were sent to the United States minister at Paris, with instructions to effect the release of Mr. Fruchier from military service, if possible.

On the 20th of October last, not having heard from Mr. McLane on the subject, and in view of Governor Stevenson’s letter of October 11, I called upon the legation in Paris to report its action in the premises and the result, and received a reply from our minister, dated November 4, 1887, stating that, as usual in such cases, the French Government had declined to take any action in the matter on the ground that a Frenchman who claims to have acquired foreign citizenship can not be discharged from the military rolls until he produces a judgment of a French civil court recognizing that he has lost his original nationality.

The case of Mr. Fruchier belongs to a class which has for some years been the occasion of controversy with the Government of France. The nature of the French claim in this regard is reviewed by Mr. Vignaud, then chargé d’affaires ad interim, in a dispatch No. 665, of November 13, 1884, printed in the volume of Foreign Relations for that year, pages 176, 182.

The United States minister at Paris has recently, under the Department’s sanction and approval, addressed the French Government, taking the ground that, according to the often enunciated doctrine of this country, a certificate of naturalization is of force ubiquitous by and sufficient evidence of the judicial decree it sets forth, and its validity is not open to impeachment by the French Government, either in its executive or judicial branch; and that if it is alleged to have been improvidently issued the remedy is to be sought through the diplomatic channel.

Whether in this class of cases, where validity of the individual’s naturalization is admitted, he is subject to any penalty, on returning to France, for offenses or neglects of duty with which he may have been chargeable before he left France, is a question dependent upon many conditions, which can only be determined in relation to each particular case as it arises. In Mr. Fruchier’s case the opportunity for examination and discussion of such conditions has not been afforded. In its initial and most important stage it is amply covered in the pending controversy, and Mr. McLane will be instructed to bear it especially in mind and, if necessary, make it a test issue in common with others of the same nature.

I have, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.