No. 973.
Mr. Strobel to Mr. Bayard.

No. 270.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose the copy and translation of a note from the minister of state defining what the Spanish Government considers the liabilities of a Spaniard to military service who has been naturalized abroad and returns to his native country. This information was requested in pursuance of the Department’s instructions No. 207 of June 29 last. In my own examination of the law reported in No. 241, of August 19, 1887, I assumed that the royal decree of November 17. 1852, quoted in Señor Moret’s note, was a dead letter at present. Article 14 of the same decree gives the right to arrest any foreigner found in Spain without a passport, and article 25 prohibits any foreigner from residing in Spain who does not openly profess the Catholic religion, both of which provisions are to-day only interesting as relics.

It seems remarkable, therefore, that this question of liability to military service should be controlled by a decree of so antiquated a character, and when the special article quoted as the basis of the Government’s opinion makes the sweeping statement that a “Spaniard naturalized in the territory of another power without the knowledge and authority “of his Government shall not be exempt from the obligations belonging to his original nationality.” Such a law would make a naturalized Spaniard not only liable to military service, but to every other original obligation to his native country.

I have, etc.,

Edward H. Strobel.
[Inclosure in No. 270.—Translation.]

Mr. Moret to Mr. Strobel.

Excellency: In reply to the legation note inquiring as to the responsibility of a Spaniard who becomes naturalized without having complied with the law of military service and returns to Spain in the character of foreigner, I have the honor to inform you that according to the information received from my colleague, the minister of the interior, who has been consulted upon the subject, the provisions of article 45 of the royal decree of November 17, 1852, referring to the rights and obligations of foreigners, are applicable. The following is the text of the decree:

“A foreigner naturalized in Spain and a Spaniard naturalized in the territory of another power without the knowledge and authority of their respective Governments shall not be exempt from the obligations belonging to their original nationality, although the Spanish subject in other respects loses the quality of Spaniard in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 5, Article I, of the constitution of monarchy.

I take advantage of this occasion, etc.,

S. Moret.