Mr. Gresham to Mr. Dun.
Washington, August 22, 1893.
Sir: I have received Mr. Coombs’s No. 145 of the 14th ultimo, on the issue of passports to Americans in the East.
In those oriental countries where the rule of extraterritoriality prevails, the test of citizenship found in a continued connection with business interests having their root in the United States may have its weight, but there are other tests, as Mr. Coombs suggests, having equal or perhaps greater value in showing a bona fide conservation of the American character and an effort to uphold the good repute of our country abroad. It should not be difficult in the light of common sense to distinguish between merely selfish residence abroad, under circumstances which involve a practical renunciation of all home ties and the adoption of a course which essentially requires the individual’s nationality to be asserted. Men who, as Mr. Coombs says, are by their employment and conduct “exercising an influence on civilization and giving strength to the position of our country” in Japan, need not fear inquiry into the good faith wherewith they retain a distinctive American nationality.
I am, etc.,