Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1894, With the Annual Message of the President, Transmitted to Congress, December 3, 1894
Baron Fava to Mr. Gresham.
Washington, January 22, 1894.
Mr. Secretary of State: Referring to the note of the honorable Department of State, bearing date of November 18, 1890, I have the honor herewith to transmit to your excellency, together with certain observations, (1) the draft of an agreement supplementary to the convention of extradition which is now in force between Italy and the United States; (2) a draft of a naturalization convention between our two countries, on the model of that between the United States and Belgium, as suggested by the Federal Government.
The propriety and desirability which have already been recognized by our two Governments to conclude these two arrangements with as little delay as possible do not leave any doubt in my mind with regard to their acceptance by the U. S. Government, which acceptance would be very gratifying to the Government of His Majesty.
Be pleased to accept, etc.,
Agreement supplementary to the extradition convention between Italy and the United States.
Neither of the contracting parties shall be obliged to surrender its own citizens or subjects by the provisions of Article i.
Citizenship acquired in one of the two contracting states by a person charged with or convicted of crime, who previous to his naturalization has committed a crime which is punishable in the other state, shall not prevent his arrest and surrender. Nevertheless, extradition may be refused if five years have elapsed from the time when naturalization was granted to him, and if the person for whose extradition application is made has, after having become naturalized, retained his domicile in the state to which such application is made.
Draft of a convention of naturalization between Italy and the United States.
Citizens of the United States who have applied for naturalization and become naturalized in Italy shall be considered as Italian citizens by the United States.
Reciprocally, Italians who have applied for naturalization and become naturalized in the United States shall be considered as citizens of the United States by Italy.[Page 362]
Citizens of the United States who have become naturalized in Italy shall be considered by Italy as citizens of the United States when they shall have again become naturalized according to the laws of their native country.
Reciprocally, Italians naturalized in the United States shall be considered as Italians by the United States when they shall again have acquired Italian citizenship according to the laws of the Kingdom.
This convention shall take effect immediately after the exchange of its ratifications, and shall remain in force for ten years.
If, at the expiration of this time, neither of the two parties shall have notified the other six months in advance of its intention to cause its effects to cease, it shall retain, its obligatory force until the expiration of twelve months after one of the contracting parties shall have notified the other of such intention.
Observations on an agreement supplementary to the convention of extradition, and on a convention of naturalization between Italy and the United States.
The matter which forms the subject of the present negotiations should be divided into two agreements essentially different from each other. The one relative to extradition should be considered as an agreement supplementary to the convention of extradition which is now in force between the United States and Italy. The other, relative to naturalization, should form a separate convention, even though both should be signed at the same time. In accordance with this view the drafts of the two agreements are herewith subjoined together with the following observations:
I.—Agreement supplementary to the convention of extradition.
Mr. Stallo, minister of the United States at Rome, proposed the following wording: “Neither of the contracting parties shall be obliged to surrender its own citizens or subjects on the ground of the stipulations of this convention.”
The Italian ministry proposed that instead of “on the ground of the stipulations” the words “on the ground of Article i” should be inserted.
The United States Government made no observation in reply.
The Italian Government proposed the following wording:
“Naturalization acquired in one of the two contracting states by a person charged with or convicted of crime after the commission of such crime shall not prevent his arrest and surrender. Nevertheless his extradition may be refused if five years have elapsed from the time when naturalization was granted to him and if the presumptive criminal has, after becoming naturalized, retained his domicile in the state to which application is made for his extradition.”
The object of this article is exclusively to prevent anyone after committing a crime in the territory of one state from applying for and acquiring naturalization in the other state for the sole purpose of escaping from the action of justice. It is true that if the Italian Government should have any suspicion that an American applying for naturalization in Italy had committed a crime in his own country, it would refuse his application until he should be fully exonerated from the charge against him by a competent American court; and the United States Government would do the same in the case of an Italian charged with crime in the Kingdom if such a person should seek to become naturalized in America.
It would be well, however, to prevent a specially astute and consequently specially dangerous criminal who had succeeded in concealing his guilt for some time and who should seek to become naturalized in the state in which he had sought refuge before he was detected, from accomplishing his design. In such a case it is not only to the interest of his native country to endeavor to secure his punishment, but it is likewise to the interest of the other state to cause its own citizenship to be respected by compelling a person becoming naturalized to meet the obligations contracted by him toward the justice of his native country previous to his naturalization, which lie has fraudulently obtained by concealing his guilt. Mr. Blaine, in his note of November 18, 1890, argued against the article now under consideration as follows:
“The purport of this proposed article appears to be that while citizenship is recognized as a ground for refusing extradition, citizenship by naturalization can not confer the right to demand it. Hence if a native Italian who has been naturalized in the United States should commit a crime and seek asylum in Italy, it does not appear that the Government of Italy would recognize our right to demand his surrender.”[Page 363]
From these words it appears evident that Mr. Blaine had in mind the case of an Italian who after having become naturalized in the United States should have committed a crime there and then taken refuge in the Kingdom; in which case he supposed that the Italian Government would desire to reserve the right to refuse his extradition. There is no ground for such a view of the case, and the Italian Government assures that of the United States that Mr. Blaine’s interpretation is not in accord either with the text of the article now under consideration nor with the intentions of Italy.
The proposed article was copied from Article iv of the convention of February 5, 1873, between Italy and Great Britain, and was reproduced in that of November 5–17, 1877, with Greece, and in the other of April 4, 1879, with Uruguay, and it never gave rise to doubts or objections whatever. A similar pact was stipulated by Italy in Article xi of the convention of good neighborhood between it and the Republic of San Marino of March 27, 1872, and in Article ii of the convention of extradition with Brazil, as was also done by England and France in their convention of extradition of August 14, 1876.
Nevertheless, in order to render the agreement more clear by excluding a priori any possibility of understanding it in the sense supposed by Mr. Blaine, the Italian Government presents Article ii in the following form:
“Citizenship acquired in one of the two contracting states by a person charged with or convicted of crime who previous to his naturalization has committed a crime which is punishable in the other state, shall not prevent his arrest and surrender.” [The rest as originally proposed.] All doubt being thus removed, the article cannot give rise to any objections, both because it is nothing but the corollary of the general principle of international law, according to which naturalization does not impair previously acquired rights, and especially because its effect will be to extend the cases of the territoriality of the penal law by which the legislation of the American Union is wholly inspired.
II.—Convention of naturalization on the model of that between the United States and Belgium.
The Italian Government adhered to Article I of the convention of naturalization between the United States and Belgium; but it observed that it would be well to insert a clause for the purpose of making it clear that citizenship obtained through naturalization is not acquired by anyone who does not make application for it. This is done to place so important a matter beyond the reach of the contingencies of legislation. In his note of November 18, 1890, Mr. Blaine declined to accept this slight addition, observing that the clause was superfluous because the laws of the United States which relate to citizenship are all based upon the principle of free consent. Although for this very reason the United States Government should have had no objection to the explicit statement in the proposed article of such a principle of liberty, which redounds to the honor of both States, still, in order to put this article in a shape that will be more acceptable to the United States Government, the Italian ministry proposes that it shall be worded as follows:
“Citizens of the United States who have made application for naturalization and have become naturalized in Italy shall be considered by the United States as Italian citizens. Reciprocally, Italians who have made application for naturalization and become naturalized in the United States shall be considered by Italy as citizens of the United States.”
The objections raised in Mr. Blaine’s note of November 18, 1890, against Article II of the convention between Belgium and the United States, which reserves the full exercise of penal action against the citizens of one State who have become naturalized in the other when they return to their native country, render the suppression of this article advisable. It is well to observe, however, in justification of the Italian Government, that the suggestion was made by that of the United States that its naturalization convention with Belgium should betaken as a model, the said convention containing this very Article II, against the provisions of which objection was afterwards made by Mr. Blaine.
The Italian Government could not accept any article that in its nature should be at variance with the provisions concerning recruiting for the royal army.[Page 364]
This article, which, owing to the suppression of the two preceding ones, becomes Article II of the draft of the convention hereto appended between the United States and Italy, is accepted in full by the Italian Government, which also accepts Article V, which becomes Article III in the aforesaid draft.
Washington, January, 1894.