Mr. Uhl to Mr. Sherman.

No. 337.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your instruction No. 369, of the 20th instant, and to inclose herewith a copy of a note addressed by me to the Imperial foreign office, in compliance with the directions contained therein, making further intervention in behalf of Alfred Meyer.

I have, etc.,

Edwin F. Uhl.
[Inclosure in No. 337.]

Mr. Uhl to Baron Marschall .

F. O. 219.]

Referring to his note of the 18th ultimo (F. O. 199), the undersigned, ambassador, etc., of the United States of America, has the honor to inform His Excellency Baron Marschall von Bieberstein, Imperial secretary of state for foreign affairs, that he is instructed to again invite the attention of his excellency to the case of the American citizen Alfred Meyer, and to again urge that Meyer be released from service in the German army.

[Page 199]

In the opinion of the Secretary of State of the United States there is a very important difference between the Meyer case and the case of Henry Rabien, referred to by his excellency in his note of March 14 last. Rabien had made a formal declaration before a German tribunal that he did not intend ever to settle in America, and this fact alone was sufficient to justify the United States Government in dropping the case, and the course then pursued can not be, by any means, considered as an admission of the right of the German Government to impress native-born American citizens into its military service. Questions in relation to the impressment of American citizens in Germany usually arise in cases of sons born in the United States of naturalized Americans of German origin who return to Germany with their sons during their minority. In some cases the German Government has contended that the fathers, by continued residence in Germany, have renounced their naturalization in the United States; but even then it has repeatedly recognized the American citizenship of the sons and has not attempted to compel them to perform military service.

The case of Ferdinand Revermann, which arose in 1885, is a case in point, and while the father had been duly naturalized in the United States, the status of the son was considered, in view of his birth in the United States independently of the father’s naturalization. The father emigrated to America from Germany in 1850; was naturalized in Illinois in 1856, and resided continuously in the United States until 1871. The son was born in Illinois in 1860, was taken by the father to Germany in 1871, and continued to reside there until 1880. In the latter year the Landrath at Munster certified that as he was born a citizen of the United States, his name would be stricken from the military rolls, and this was done. He was, however, in October, 1884, summoned before the Landrath and told that by order of the Royal Government at Munster he must either become naturalized in Germany or leave the country. A week later he applied to the United States legation for protection, and on October 31, 1884, Minister Kasson made intervention in his behalf.

In replying to this note on December 31, Dr. Busch, the German foreign minister, contended that under the treaties of 1868, regulating nationality, the fathers in such cases should be regarded as having renounced their naturalization by a sojourn in Germany longer than two years. He further said:

The provisions of these treaties do not, however, extend to the minor children of persons naturalized in America. The rules there prescribed can not, therefore, find any application to the legal status of these children. Their legal status should, therefore, be judged rather by the principles of law governing in the United States, in view of the fact that the children have been born in America, and have thereby, apart from the naturalization of the fathers, independently acquired American citizenship. American law, so far as known here, contains no provision which makes the renunciation of American naturalization by the father act upon his minor children. The Government of H. M. the Emperor has, therefore, no hesitation in recognizing such persons as American citizens.* * * Individuals possessing this character can not be made to perform military service in Germany.

Alfred Meyer was born in the United States in 1875, and, although there is no evidence that his father ever became a citizen of the United States, he acquired American citizenship independently” thereby, and consequently should not be made to perform military service in Germany, and his release therefrom is, therefore, again urgently requested.

The undersigned avails himself, etc.,

Edwin F. Uhl.