Mr. Vignaud to Mr. Hay.
Paris, November 5, 1901.
Sir: Some time ago a naturalized American of French origin, Mr. Emile Robin, applied to this embassy for the purpose of having his name erased from the French military rolls. Robin was born in France on the 9th of January, 1869. After having served in the active army the full term of three years, to which every Frenchman has to submit, he proceeded to the United States, where he was naturalized March 31, 1900. At that time, although released from the active army, he was still liable to serve in the reserve, and therefore, according to the [Page 157]French law of June 26, 1889, new article 17 of the code, he could not renounce his French nationality without the consent of his Government.
At his urgent request the embassy applied, nevertheless, for his complete discharge from all military obligations in France, and I am now in receipt of Mr. Delcassé’s reply. The application is refused, on the ground that, as the period during which Robin is liable to serve in the active army (comprising the reserve) only expires on the 12th of March, 1903, when he would be transferred to the territorial army, and further, as he failed to apply to the authorities to obtain consent to change his nationality, his naturalization in the United States has no value in the eyes of the French Government.
Such reply was fully expected and contains nothing new, but it defines the position the French Government takes when cases of this kind arise, in a manner so precise that I have deemed it advisable to send you a copy and translation of it.
I have, etc.,