Mr. Wharton to Mr. Grant .

No. 134.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 173, of the 27th ultimo, in relation to the case of Mr. Mazel, who was born in this city on September 17, 1869, and who is consequently now nearly 22 years of age. At the time of his birth his father was the minister of the Netherlands at this capital and had married an American woman. In 1871 the family removed to Europe, and they have successively resided in Stockholm, St. Petersburg, and Vienna, at each of which places Mr. Mazel, senior, has served his Government in a diplomatic capacity. You state that it is now young Mr. Mazel’s wish to come to this country and be a citizen thereof, and you inquire whether, in view of his birth in the United States, he can claim citizenship here without awaiting the lapse of a period of five years and performing the ordinary conditions of naturalization.

The Department is of opinion that Mr. Mazel can enjoy the privileges of citizenship in the United States only after naturalization in the ordinary way. Section 1992 of the Revised Statutes of the United States reads as follows:

All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power,* * * are declared to be citizens of the United States.

There has been not a little diversity of opinion as to the scope to be given to the words “not subject to any foreign power” in the section just quoted, but it does not appear ever to have been doubted that the child of a diplomatic officer came within the class whose birth in the United States did not warrant a claim to citizenship. In this relation it is proper to refer to the case of McKay v. Campbell, 2 Sawyer, 118, in which it is stated that the “children of ambassadors” form an exception to the rule as to persons being born in the allegiance of a sovereign who are born on his soil.

It is not thought that the fact of Mr. Mazel having married an American woman affects the case, since legitimate children follow the status of their father.

I am, etc.,

William F. Wharton,
Acting Secretary.