Mr. Pendleton to Mr. Bayard.
Berlin, February 22, 1888. (Received March 12.)
Sir: There appeared at this legation yesterday a passport applicant, bearing a “minor’s certificate of citizenship” issued by the probate court of Montgomery County, at Dayton, Ohio, on October 20, 1887, to one Frank Kessel, and made under oath the usual statements exacted from all naturalized passport applicants.
In his affidavit, a copy of which is herewith inclosed, together with a copy of the “minor’s certificate of citizenship” above mentioned, the applicant in question swears that he was born in Germany on June 13, 1855; that he emigrated to the United States in 1882, arriving at Baltimore in May of that year; that he was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the probate court of Montgomery County, at Dayton, Ohio, on the 20th day of October, 1887, as shown by the certificate of naturalization submitted by him: that he is “the identical person referred to in said certificate;” that he last left America in November, 1887, and that he intends to return to the United States in about one year, with a purpose of residing and performing the duties of citizenship there. He desires the passport for the purpose of satisfying the [Page 616] police authorities here, who require passports of almost all foreigners who remain in Berlin for more than a few weeks.
By comparing Kessel’s affidavit and his citizen papers it will be observed that one or the other must be wrong, for in his affidavit he swears to having emigrated to the United States in 1882, when he was nearly twenty-seven years of age; whereas in his certificate of naturalization it is stated that it was proven to the satisfaction of the court by the oaths of two men, therein named, “that he (Frank Kessel) resided in said United States three years next preceding his arrival at the age of twenty-one years,” which would have rendered unnecessary a previous “declaration of intention.”
Kessel maintains that this statement in his citizen paper is a mistake. He claims that he himself never swore to any such fact wittingly, and did not even know that it was so stated in his certificate. He claims also to have taken out a “first paper” naturalization at the same court at which he received his final paper, two years after his arrival in the United States, but that the said “first paper” was retained by that court on the delivery to him of his second or final paper.
Kessel appears to be an honest man and perfectly sincere and frank in his statements made at this office. I have advised him to write personally to some friend in Dayton, Ohio, or to the clerk of the probate court there, for certified copies of both of his papers of naturalization, or of the record of the court of his “declaration of intention” and of the decree of his final naturalization. This course was advised in view of the possibility of a clerical mistake having been made by the filling in of a wrong form of certificate of naturalization.
In view of the above facts, I have deemed it advisable to submit to you this application, with the accompanying documents, before issuing a passport to Kessel, in order that, after causing such inquiries to be made as you may think proper, you may instruct me in regard thereto, and also as to the disposition to be made of Kessel’s original certificate of naturalization, at present retained by the legation.
I am, etc.,