Mr. Adee to Governor Foster.

Sir: I have the honor to communicate to you herewith a copy, in translation, of the report1 made to the Italian embassy in this capital by the gerant of the Italian consulate at New Orleans, Marquis Camilo Romano, in regard to the lynching of five persons of Italian origin at Tallulah, parish of Madison, on the 20th of July last, together with translations and copies of the annexes thereto, all of which have been submitted to this Department by the chargé d’affaires of Italy under date of the 8th instant.

As regards the citizenship of the lynched men, you will observe that Signor Romano submits copies of the three certificates of the naturalization of Charles, Frank, and Joe Defatta (the last under the alias of Siha Deferach), of which you sent me certified transcripts with your letter of August 5, and that he erroneously regards these certificates as “first papers” of declaration of intention. In respect to those certificates I may observe:

Frank Difatta.—Record of admission to citizenship dated November 8, 1895. Giuseppe Diffina makes oath that Francesco (Frank) Difatta had been in America “about six years;” i. e., since July, 1893. If so, he could only have been in the United States about a year and a half when naturalized.
Charles Difatta.—Record of admission to citizenship dated June 28, 1899. Giusseppe Diffina’s affidavit alleges that he had been in America “about two years,” although in Charles’s application he swears to more than six years’ residence. It appears uncertain whether his true name was Carlo (Charles) or Pasquale.
Siha Deferach.—Marquis Romano’s report appears to admit that Giuseppe (Joseph) Difatta was naturalized under the name of Syha Deferach. The court record of admission to citizenship is dated June 28, 1899, more than six years’ residence in Louisiana being averred in the application. This agrees with Giuseppe Diffina’s affidavit that Giuseppe Difatta had been in America “about six years.”

To meet any possible attempt to impugn the naturalization of these three men on the ground of alleged ineligibility, false swearing, or simulated identity, with consequent fraud upon the naturalizing court, the date of immigration of the three men, the place and date of their making the preliminary declaration of intention, their respective ages, and the identity of Giuseppe (Joseph) Difatta with the Syha Deferach to whom the certificate was given, would seem to be proper subjects for ascertainment. I proffer this suggestion confidentially with a view to supplying this Department with all available matter for eventual discussion of the points involved should the contingency arise in the [Page 457] diplomatic way. You may recall that on the previous occasion of the lynching of certain Italians at Hahnville, St. Charles Parish, in 1896, the Department found it expedient to send a special agent to investigate the question of the citizenship of the lynched men.

I have acknowledged the note of the Italian chargé d’affaires by saying that—

The report and the accompanying documentary proofs will have the careful attention of this Department, in connection with a report to be received from his excellency the governor of Louisiana, as the result of the investigation he has ordered and in connection also with the result of the action to be taken by the judicial branch of the State authority.

Awaiting those reports, and with renewed expression of the conviction felt by the Government of the United States that the authority of the State will be exerted by all means at lawful command to the end of enforcing justice against any who are found to have infringed the law, and in protection of all imperiled interests,

I have, etc.,

Alvey A. Adee,
Acting Secretary of State.
  1. Printed, ante.