Mr. Tower to Mr. Hay.
Vienna, January 18, 1899.
Sir: I have the honor to report to you for your information the case of Erminio Demartini, an American citizen, whose name was inscribed until recently upon the military lists at Trieste as a deserter from the Austro-Hungarian army, but whose citizenship has now been duly recognized in consequence of the intervention of this legation, with the [Page 26] result that the said Mr. Demartini has been freed from the charge of desertion brought against him and from all liability to perform military service within this Empire.
The facts of this case are as follows: Erminio Demartini was born in Brooklyn, N. Y., on the 7th of November, 1875. He was the son of Francesco Demartini, a native of Trieste, who emigrated to the United States and was admitted to citizenship there before the superior court of the city of New York on the 15th day of October, 1868. The said Erminio Demartini came to Austria at the age of 9 years in 1886, accompanied by his parents, and lived in the city of Trieste from the year 1886 to 1896. His father never returned to the United States, but appears to have come back to his native country with the purpose of spending here the rest of his days, and he did in fact remain in Trieste until his death, which occurred there in the year 1897. It does not appear, however, that he ever expressed an intention to abandon his American citizenship. The mother of the young man is still alive and residing in Trieste.
During the ten years of his residence with his parents at Trieste, Erminio Demartini was regarded by the local authorities as an Austrian subject, and in the course of time his name was entered upon the lists of those liable to perform military service in the Empire.
In the year 1896 he was summoned to appear as a conscript, but evidently, without offering to prove his right of exemption upon the ground of his American citizenship, he disregarded the summons and went to New York, whereupon he was declared to be in default and his name inscribed as a deserter from the Austro-Hungarian army.
The case was first brought to my attention by a letter dated the 16th of June, 1898, from Messrs. Hobbs & Gifford, attorneys at law, of New York City, who recited the facts relating to it, and informed me that Erminio Demartini now desires to visit Austria temporarily for the purpose of seeing his mother, but hesitates to do so unless relieved from the liability to be now held for service in the army. They requested me to make the proper representation to the Austrian minister of war, or other autnority having jurisdiction, to the end that this young man may be officially relieved from his embarrassment and declared to be not subject to military duty in Austria in the event of his return and temporary sojourn in that country, if such a course should be consistent with your view of public duty.
As the letter of Messrs. Hobbs & Gifford did not present the necessary evidence as to the citizenship of the said Erminio Demartini, I replied to them on the 22d of July that, “in order that I may take the proper steps to carry out your request, I shall have to ask you to furnish me with an exemplification of the record (duly authenticated) of the naturalization of Francesco Demartini, the father, as also an affidavit by some disinterested person conversant with the facts as to the date and place of birth of Erminio Demartini, and his residence in the United States since that time.”
This request having been complied with by Messrs. Hobbs & Gifford in their letter of the 19th of August, as will be seen by the copies of the correspondence hereto attached, and it having been shown by the exemplification of the record that Francesco Demartini was in fact admitted to citizenship in the United States of America, before the superior court of the city of New York, on the 15th day of October, 1868, and it having been further shown by the affidavits accompanying [Page 27] the documents that Erminio Demartini was born in Brooklyn in the year 1875, subsequently, therefore, to the naturalization of his father, I undertook the necessary proceedings for his relief by addressing to the Count Goluchowski, Austro-Hungarian minister of foreign affairs, the note dated the 18th of October, 1898, of which a copy is included in the correspondence herewith submitted.
I am now in receipt of a note from the Austro Hungarian minister of foreign affairs dated the 14th of January, 1899, in reply to my communication, in which he informs this legation that, in view of the facts which I have presented to show that Erminio Demartini is to be regarded and treated as an American citizen, the provincial government of Trieste has been instructed by the ministry of national defense to take immediate steps to remove his name from the army lists.
I have notified Messrs. Hobbs & Gifford of this act of justice to their client, and have informed them that the case of Mr. Demartini has been duly reported by me to the Department of State.
I have, etc.,