Mr. Chew to Mr. Blaine.

No. 218.]

Sir: Application having been made to this legation by Mr. Rudolph G. W. Lippitt for the renewal of a passport issued to him on the 31st of December, 1879, by Hon. John A. Kasson, then minister of the United States at this capital, and his claim to the further protection of our Government resting, in my opinion, on doubtful grounds, it has been determined to lay the facts in the case before the Department of State and await its instruction before action is taken in the matter.

In answer to the usual interrogatories Mr. Lippitt stated that he was born in Vienna on January 27, 1858, his father being a native-born citizen of the United States, and, at the time, temporarily residing abroad in the capacity of secretary of this legation. That he (the applicant) has lived abroad all his life, with the exception of two visits to the United States, the first of which was made while he was an infant, when he, of course, had no power of election as to the location of his domicile, and which lasted for about one year; and the second while he was yet a minor, on which occasion his sojourn was of but a few months duration. Until he attained his majority his time was divided between England, France, and Austria, and upon coming into possession of his estate he took up his permanent residence in the latter country, subsequently married a subject thereof, and established his domicile, living in summer at Thurnesch, Styria, and in winter at Vienna.

Mr. Lippitt further stated that his citizenship of the United States had never been questioned, and it follows, as a matter of course, that he has enjoyed all the privileges and immunities common to citizens of the United States and to subjects of Austria, and has avoided all corresponding duties in each country. He has had two sons born to him, both of whom, he stated, had been registered at the consulate-general of the United States in this city as American citizens.

That Mr. Lippitt was born heir to the nationality which he still claims, is conceded. Section 1993 of the Revised Statutes of the United States expressly provides that “All children heretofore born or hereafter born, out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, whose fathers were or may be at the time of their birth citizens thereof, are declared to be citizens of the United States.”

There is, therefore, no room for doubt, under the facts stated above, that Mr. Lippitt was born an American citizen. The question is, however, whether by his own voluntary action in establishing his domicile abroad without having ever taken up his residence in the United States and with no present intention of so doing, he has not forfeited his birth-right? Certainly it would seem that he is in error in believing his sons entitled to registration as American citizens, for the statute above cited [Page 6] clearly goes on to state “but the rights of citizenship shall not descend to children whose fathers never resided in the United States.”

With the request that the State Department will favor this legation with its opinion as to the political status of Mr. Lippitt and his sons, under the within representation of facts, I have, etc.,

John J. Chew.