Mr. Olney to Mr. Thompson.

No. 295.]

Sir: I have recieved your No. 420, of the 10th ultimo, in regard to six applications for passports transmitted to you by the consul at Santos.

The question you propound belongs to the well-known province of international jurisprudence commonly styled the conflict of laws. The statute of the United States, in regard to citizenships of persons born within its jurisdiction, is substantially the same as that of Brazil, so that the claim of Brazil to the allegiance of James Carlton, Henry C. Whitaker, and Imloch N. Whitaker is capable of being asserted while they voluntarily remain within Brazilian jurisdiction.

As to the remaining applications of John H. Rowe, William F. Pyles, and Charles C. Finley, the Department’s previous instructions in regard to a sufficient declaration by the applicants of intention to return to the United States appear to be correctly applied by you. As has been often stated heretofore, such declaration does not require a statement of a fixed date of return, but the manifestation of a fixed intention to return within some reasonable time, which intention shall not be conspicuously negatived by the circumstances of the foreign domicile of the declarant.

The general status of international and American municipal law with regard to children born abroad of parents who at the time were or are citizens of the United States, was very fully considered by Attorney-General Hoar in an opinion submitted to Mr. Secretary Fish on the 12th of June, 1869, which will be found printed in the Opinions of the Attorneys-General, Volume XIII. I inclose copy of that opinion for your more convenient information, merely observing that like all general statements of doctrine, the circumstances of the particular case should be weighed in estimating its applicability.

I am, etc.,

Richard Olney