Mr. Gresham to Mr. Terrell.

No. 251.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 305, of the 17th ultimo, in relation to the rules observed by foreign countries in the naturalization of Turks, and the bearing which the present policy of this Government has upon its relations with the Ottoman Porte.

The Government of the United States and the American people are too firmly committed to the principle of the right of expatriation to be willing to abandon it in our negotiations with the Ottoman Empire. The question has been so fully and ably discussed, notably in Mr. Bayard’s instruction to your predecessor, Mr. S. S. Cox, under date of November 28, 1885,1 that it would seem unnecessary to repeat here the arguments in favor of the contention of this country beyond quoting the following passage:

The question is, in its broadest aspect, one of conflict between the laws of sovereign equals. The authority of one is paramount within its own jurisdiction. We recognize expatriation as an individual right. Turkey, almost solely among nations, [Page 765] holds to the generally abandoned doctrine of perpetual allegiance. Turkey can no more expect us to renounce our fundamental doctrine in respect of our citizens within her territory than she could expect to enforce her doctrines within the United States, by preventing the naturalization hereof a Turk who emigrates without the authorization of an imperial iradé.

As to the question of preventing the influx into the United States of aliens dangerous to the peace of the country, we must look to other means of excluding them than by abandoning the doctrine of the right of expatriation.

I am, etc.,

W. Q. Gresham.