Mr. Porter to Mr. Blaine.
Rome, July 9, 1890. (Received July 26.)
Sir: In compliance with your instruction No. 55 of May 3, 1890, I transmitted to the minister for foreign affairs a note setting forth the grievances alleged to have been inflicted upon Nicolino Mileo and his wife and inviting early and earnest attention thereto. I also had an interview with the minister, who promised that the cases should receive prompt and thorough investigation. He ventured to affirm at once, however, that the story of the detention of Mileo’s wife, would turn out to have no foundation in truth. On my stating that the recurrence of such painful questions as were presented in Mileo’s case might be avoided by treaty provisions similar to those contained in the conventions of the United States with Belgium and Austria-Hungary, he said that views submitted in writing would be very attentively considered; but his remarks convinced me that little hope could be entertained at present of the doctrine being relinquished that a native of Italy, naturalized in another country, is liable on his return to Italy to be drafted into the army and to render military service in like manner as if he had not been naturalized. This is a doctrine which, it is said, King Victor Emanuel maintained with unyielding firmness.
I have no great confidence that concessions on the part of the United States similar to those contained in the treaties above mentioned would at present be accepted as an equivalent for the right asserted.
It will give me pleasure to pursue any course which you may do me the honor to suggest and which you may regard as likely to be efficacious in bringing about the relinquishment of a doctrine the enforcement of which always produces irritation and is regarded by the United States as unjust.
I am, etc.,