Mr. Phelps to Mr. Blaine.
Berlin , December 17, 1889. (Received January 6, 1890.)
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your instruction No. 21 of the 27th ultimo. It discusses the issue by this legation of [Page 300] certain passports during the quarter ended September 30, 1889. Although these passports were issued before I took charge of this legation, I have read the criticisms with no less interest, in the desire to possess myself of a more complete knowledge of the wishes of the Department in this matter.
In a few of the cases cited I fail to see clearly the points made in the instruction and beg to refer more particularly to them.
Case No. 2198.—The passport was issued to Aaron Frank, with the warning (see Department instruction No. 408 of January 29, 1889) that a new passport would not be issued to him if he continued to reside in Germany after the expiration of the validity of the one sent.
Case No. 2219.—As regards the intention of Charles Mattern to return to the United States, the legation was guided by his oath that it was his intention to return thither in 9 months.
Case No. 2276.—In this case it is claimed that Friedrich Neumann “fails to make any statement in regard to his intention to return to the United States,” whereas he makes oath that it is his intention to return thither, though he does fail to fix any date. It will also be seen that he last left the United States as late as July 20, 1889.
Case No. 2281.—-Charles Reeb swears that it is his intention to return to the United States in 7 months. The legation accepted this statement under oath as indicating his bona fide intention.
It is not clearly stated, but seems to be properly drawn from these instructions, that the Department wishes us to insist that the applicant for a passport shall give a limit to the period of his absence from the United States; shall, in other words, state when the purposes to return home. Is the legation to understand that it is to refuse this evidence of citizenship to one who convinces it that he has a bona fide intention to return, but who can not, under the circumstances, fix the date of his return?
I am, etc.,