Mr. Wharton to Mr. Hirsch.

No. 236.]

Sir: Your No. 312 of the 17th ultimo has been received. You therein report that Dr. Dongian (or Dondjian), whose case has hitherto had the consideration of your legation and of this Department, had brought to a close—by voluntarily resuming Ottoman nationality—the questions raised in regard to his status in connection with his admission to practice medicine in Turkish dominions.

It would seem that at the time Dr. Dongian was soliciting your intervention to cause the delivery of his certified diploma to him as a citizen of the United States, he had already allowed himself to be registered and recognized at the Ottoman bureau of nationality as an Ottoman subject, surrendering his American passport to that bureau. He seems, moreover, to have regarded this act of his as an empty formality “merely dictated by expediency, his intention always being,” as he says, “to resume his acquired American citizenship.”

You very properly required Dr. Dongian to surrender to you his certificate of naturalization which you send to the Department.

There is no express provision of our law for the judicial recognition of the act of a naturalized alien in voluntarily resuming his original allegiance or for accepting as of judicial record his formal renunciation of his American citizenship. Nevertheless, as the Government of the United States recognizes the right of expatriation, it is proper for the executive branches to recognize the act of any citizen in abandonment of his American citizenship; and this Department has frequently declared that when a citizen of the United States becomes naturalized or renaturalized in a foreign land, he is to be regarded as having lost his rights as a citizen of this country.

Whatever may be Dr. Dongian’s intentions as to a future resumption of his American citizenship, there can be no question as to his legal status. He can not at his pleasure keep up a double alleigance. He is now an alien by virtue of his resumption of his Ottoman subjection, and there is no provision of law for his becoming again a citizen of the United States in any other than the regular course which applies to all aliens.

[Page 753]

Dr. Giragos Dongian’s certificate of naturalization was issued by the court of common pleas of New York City, August 19, 1890.

The court will be notified of Dr. Dongian’s renunciation of his American citizenship, for its information and such effect as the notification may carry in the absence of any positive provision of law in this regard.

I am, etc.

William F. Wharton,
Acting Secretary.