Mr. Terrell to Mr. Sherman.
Constantinople, April 8, 1897. (Received April 24.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that this legation is often at a loss to know what rule should govern in determining when a naturalized American citizen, after returning to the land of his origin and residing there for many years, has lost his acquired citizenship.
This uncertainty has resulted largely from the fact that one Ghika, a Greek, received a passport from your Department after he had returned and lived many years in the land of his origin, with no property interests in America, and when all these facts showed that his acquired nationality had been abandoned. I refused him a passport; he obtained one after a visit to Washington.
A case is now presented about which a specific instruction is desired, viz:
Dr. Garabed Vartanian was naturalized as a citizen of the United States, and returned to Turkey, of which country he was a native. Here he was married, and has grown sons who can not speak the English language, but claim American citizenship. He has a home here. He has no property in America. He has never, I learn, manifested a disposition to return during the last thirty years, and never left this city.
I again inform your Department that the ink in a majority of cases was scarcely drying over half the certificate of naturalization seen at this post before a passport had been issued on which the party returned to Turkey, where he passed as an American citizen, claiming the protection of two Governments, and yet so situated that he can not be forced to respond to the demands of either. He almost invariably returns to stay, and has no use for his acquired nationality except to be protected after he has abandoned the United States with a view of permanently residing abroad.
I can only regard such a proceeding as a fraud on our naturalization laws.
I have, etc.,