Mr. Uhl to Mr. Broadhead.

No. 64.]

Sir: I have received your dispatch No. 54, of August 20, 1894, in reference to the case of Fred. Tschudy, a native of Switzerland, and a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Mr. Tschudy, it appears, remained in this country just the length of time necessary to secure naturalization papers, and immediately upon obtaining them returned, in 1893, to Switzerland. He procured from you a passport as a naturalized American citizen. Recently the Swiss authorities have ordered him to report for military duty and he has complained to you, protesting against the exercise of such jurisdiction by the Swiss Government over him, an American citizen.

Upon laying the matter before the President of the Confederation, [Page 687] yon were informed by the minister of foreign affairs that although Tschudy has become an American citizen under our law he still remains a Swiss citizen under Swiss law, and therefore is still subject to the obligations of a citizen in that country.

You thereupon addressed a note to the minister of foreign affairs, admitting the general principle of international law that every nation may deny to its citizens the right of expatriation. You, however, further called the attention of the Swiss Government to the position which this Government, since its foundation, has maintained as to the right of expatriation, stating that it had always asserted the right in the most positive manner; and you reminded the minister that at the time of the conclusion of the treaty of 1855 between that country and this, the views of this Government on the subject of expatriation and naturalization must have been well understood and must be considered in connection with the interpretation of that treaty.

Quoting from Article ii of the treaty, which provides that “the citizens of one of the two countries residing or established in the other shall be free from military service,” you insisted that the word “citizen,” not being limited either by express language or by the context, must be understood—especially in the light of the views of this country above referred to—as embracing naturalized as well as native citizens of the United States residing in Switzerland.

Your note to the minister elaborates and enforces this view of the question in a very clear and able manner, and your efforts to induce the Swiss Government to concur in this view are fully approved by this Department.

If Mr. Tschudy has returned to Switzerland for the purpose of making his permanent residence there, this circumstance, in connection with the fact that he left the United States immediately after securing his naturalization papers, tends very strongly to raise the belief that, his temporary immigration to this country and his naturalization here were merely for the purpose of evading the duties of Swiss citizenship without intending to assume those of American citizenship. If this be the case, this Department would not be disposed to insist upon the application to him of the principle for which you are contending. But in the case of a return to Switzerland of one born there, who has bona fide emigrated and been naturalized here, I concur with you in the opinion that a proper interpretation of the treaty should exempt him from the performance of military duty.

I am, etc.,

Edwin F. Uhl,
Acting Secretary.