Mr. Hicks to Mr. Blaine.

No. 104.]

Sir: I acknowledge receipt of Department’s No. 38 of February 26, 1890, in regard to the case of William Gylling, a Swedish immigrant who, in 1881, declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, but who never completed the formalities necessary to citizenship, and who now seeks the protection of this legation.

I will notify Mr. Gylling of the Department’s decision in his case, that he is not entitled to protection as an American citizen.

I am still of the belief, however that, if it is not positively prohibited by law, it would be good policy to extend some sort of protection to this class of people. There is a large number in Lima alone, and in the disturbed condition of these countries they naturally look to the American legation for a recognition of their citizenship. While it is true theoretically that they are still citizens to all intents and purposes of the land [Page 695] which gave them birth, yet they cherish among the most valuable of their earthly possessions the creased and faded piece of paper which testifies to the fact that they have initiated the process whose consummation will make them legal citizens. And if the American Government refuses any recognition of their status, they feel that the oath by which they renounced all allegiance to their native land forever cuts them off from any relief from that source, and thus they are expatriated from both the old and the new.

Perhaps it is impracticable to extend even a quasi recognition of these men which would apply as against any nation except the one which they have abandoned, but, if such action is practicable, I am sure that it would afford satisfaction to a large class.

I have, etc.,

John Hicks.