Mr. Reid to Mr. Blaine.

No. 428.]

Sir: I have the honor to send the following report of the circumstances in the case of John Maurice Hubbard. This is a young man living in Paris who anticipated that he would be called by the French Government to perform military service in France and requested this legation to claim him as an American citizen. He was informed by Mr. Vignaud that this could not be done without authorization from the State Department, an authorization which in his case was not likely to be given.

The mother of Maurice Hubbard is the divorced wife of an American citizen, who married her while United States consul, or consular agent, in Haiti, and who had by her two sons and two daughters. Mrs. Hubbard was born in Haiti from a French mother, and for many years-more than twenty—she has been living in France with her four children. Her youngest son, Maurice, called at the legation some four months ago and explained that as he had been born in France and was about coming of age he was, according to the new French law on citizenship, considered as French, and in that capacity liable to military service unless he disclaimed French citizenship and supported his disclaimer [Page 492] by a certificate from the United States Government claiming him as an American citizen. Mr. Hubbard, whose language is French, having stated further that he had never been in the United States, was told that under the circumstances the legation could not claim him, at least without referring his case to the Department. He seemed astonished, and said it had been intimated to him that the United States consul at Havre, where he was born, could furnish him with the citizenship papers he needed. He was then advised to apply to the consul. He did so, or at least his mother did so, for under date of August 20 she wrote to inquire if a fee of 384.80 francs, which the consul had charged her for issuing the papers she required, was not excessive. The next day, however, her son called to say he had received from the consul a note explaining that he had made a mistake in adding the items of his bill, and reducing his fee to a more moderate figure. It has been ascertained since that the papers given by the consul were deposited with the French authorities by young Hubbard, who hopes they will be finally accepted.

In my dispatch Ho. 29, of July 16, 1889, I explained the object and purport of the French nationality law above referred to and gave a translation of its essential clauses. The clause which affects Mr. Hubbard is the fourth of article 8, which defines as a French citizen—

Any person born in France of foreign parents and who at the time of his majority is domiciled in France, unless within the year following such majority, as fixed by French law, he has declined French nationality and proved that he has retained the nationality of his parents by means of an attestation in due form from his Government, which attestation shall remain annexed to his declaration, and by producing besides, if there is occasion to do so, a certificate showing that he has complied with the call to perform military service in accordance with the military laws of his country.

A circular issued by the minister of justice, under date of August 23, 1889, gives as follows the form of the disclaimer:

Declaration in view of declining French citizenship.

This ___, before me, justice of the peace of ___, personally appeared ____, who declared that, being born in France, at____, on the ____, from—(name of parents), and being domiciled in France, he desired to decline French citizenship conferred upon him by article 8, clause 4, of the code, and claimed the citizenship of ____ (name of country). In support of his declaration the said ___ has produced—

His birth certificate.
His father’s birth certificate or certificate of marriage.
An attestation, in due form, from the government of the country to which he claims to belong showing that he is considered as a citizen of that country.
A certificate showing that he has complied with the laws of his country of origin as to military service.

If there is no military service in that country, the certificate should state so.

As to the attestation required from the foreign government claiming a person born in France, there is no fixed form. Here is the one adopted by the Belgian Government and accepted by the French authorities:

Certificate of citizenship.

We, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of the Belgians near the French Republic, certify that ______, horn at _____, the _____, has retained Belgian nationality.

In faith of which we have given him the present certificate.




I have, etc.,

Whitelaw Reid.