Mr. Uhl to Mr. Riddle.

No. 181.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 232, of the 20th ultimo, whereby you ask to be furnished with specific instructions as to the measure of protection to be accorded by the legation in the cases of Armenians who have become naturalized in the United States and return to travel in Turkey under the guise of Ottoman subjects.

The power of the agencies of the United States to protect American citizens in their just international rights can only be exercised in good faith and upon proof of the good faith of the party claiming protection. It is not to be abused by such duplicity as you report. As long ago as 1874 Mr. Fish said:

For a naturalized citizen may, by returning to his native country and residing there with an evident intention to remain, or by accepting offices there inconsistent “with his adopted citizenship, or by concealing for a length of time the fact of his naturalization and passing himself off as a citizen or subject of his native country until occasion may make it his interest to ask the intervention of the country of his adoption, or in other ways which may show an intent to abandon his acquired rights, so far resume his original allegiance as to absolve the government of his adopted country from the obligation to protect him as a citizen while he remains in his native land.” (Consular Regulations, 1874, paragraph 110.)

This Government does not hold to the doctrine of perpetual allegiance, nor does it contest the right of any citizen of the United States to voluntarily perform any act by which he may become a citizen or subject of a foreign state according to its laws. The return of a naturalized Turk to Turkey, as an Ottoman subject, under Turkish passport, and with submission to Turkish authority over him as a subject, clearly dissolves the obligation of his adopted country to protect him longer as a citizen, and the obligation can certainly not be revived by the assertion or admission of the individual that his reassumption of his original allegiance has been colorable merely and in bad faith, with deliberate intent to deceive. The agencies of the United States in Turkey can not be privy to such a deception.

From your statement it appears that Garabed M. Mourad hopes to return to and remain in Turkish jurisdiction as a Turkish subject until it may be convenient for him either to claim an American citizen’s right to quit Turkey or to invite expulsion as an objectionable alien. In either case, upon his own showing, this Government could not contest any claim of Turkey to regard his resumption of Turkish allegiance as complete and to treat him as an Ottoman subject.

A person situated as Mr. Mourad is can only go to Turkey as a citizen of the United States or as a Turkish subject. It is impossible to permit any declaration he may make to the legation concerning his dual intentions to operate to recognize him secretly as a citizen of the United States while he at the same time outwardly passes for a Turkish subject.

You will inform Mr. Mourad that his statements made to the legation are outside of the case, and that should he at any time formally apply for protection the bona fides of his claim to have retained the character of an American will be rigidly scrutinized. As in the case of Aivasian and others, this Government has not only the right, but it is incumbent upon it, to satisfy itself that the person in question has done nothing while in Turkey to forfeit the right to be protected.

I am, etc.,

Edwin F. Uhl,
Acting Secretary.