Mr. Winchester to Mr. Bayard.
Berne , October 4, 1887. (Received October 15.)
Sir: On the 26th ultimo, in my dispatch No. 154, the case of Mr. Nathan Seligman, involving his right to a passport, was referred to the Department. Therein it was explained that, feeling constrained to issue Mr. Seligman a passport, from the “unequivocal declaration of positive intent to return to the United States” made in his application, the reference was made more for the purpose of guidance in future cases of the same general character, many of which were known to exist in Switzerland, and presenting the identical question of continuous residence abroad as partners or agents of American business houses. The legation is to-day in receipt of an application, through the St. Galle consulate, from Mr. Solomon M. Pollock, for a passport, which is without the saving clause of Mr. Seligman’s, and presents the question squarely and fully. Mr. Pollock does not make any “unequivocal declaration of positive intent to return.” His application contains this declaration as to return, “Perhaps shortly, and perhaps not for a few years.” This is supplemented by a written statement from Mr. Pollock, explaining why he was unable to make a more definite declaration as to his return to the United States. Mr. Pollock states that he has been sent out here by the firm of Leon, Levy & Bros., of New York and San Francisco, as their agent, to attend to the purchase and manufacture (the emphasis of manufacture is mine, as having an important bearing) of embroideries. He adds:
I have been here over four years to do their business. I am at their disposal; do not know when they will call me back. This may occur the next six months and may not happen for years to come; but I do hereby declare, that whenever I am called back I shall be a loyal citizen and assume the duties as such.
As this case presents the question upon which instruction was desired in the best possible form, it has been deemed best to decline granting Mr. Pollock a passport until the opinion of the Department can be obtained.
The legation is not unmindful of the instruction of the Department to Mr. Roberts, the American minister to Chili, published in the “International Law Digest,” volume ii, section 176, pages 309, 370, apparently covering the principle involved, but has not felt satisfied that the cases in Switzerland, fully stated in my dispatch No. 154 and illustrated by those of Messrs. Seligman and Pollock, possessed the same features either of “public policy “or of international law.”[Page 1497]
Mr. Pollock’s case presents the same damaging characteristics mentioned in that of Mr. Seligman, and largely prevailing in the same class of cases. He emigrated to the United States in February, 1875; was naturalized November 13, 1882; and left the United States November 15, 1882, since which date he has resided in Switzerland for the purpose stated by him, and is unable to make any positive declaration of intention to return.
Hoping the Department may find it possible to give this legation such instructions as will dispose of the class of cases herein indicated,
I am, etc.,