Mr. White to Mr. Hay.
Berlin, February 16, 1901.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt this morning of your instruction No. 1159, referring to the expulsion case of Max Friedrich Schaaf, and in this connection to report that the embassy’s dispatch No. 1510, with regard to this case contained practically the whole (not a summary) of the foreign office’s note in question. Of late the foreign office has refrained from entering upon any discussion of such cases. The position taken by the royal Prussian authorities is that it is to be presumed that any one who emigrates from Prussia without having performed military service emigrated for the purpose of evading such service, the age of the person in question at the time of his emigration not being taken into account. The Prussian authorities hold that no such person should be allowed to settle in Prussia or to make a prolonged visit in that country while still of an age when, had he remained a Prussian subject, he might be called upon for military service. They consider that the provisions of the Bancroft treaties are sufficiently complied with if the person in question is allowed to visit his former home and to remain there a few weeks; and of late years, in certain parts of the country, expulsion orders have become more or less frequent. The question of having obtained permission to change allegiance does not appear to influence the case, the idea being merely that a person should not be able, through a few years’ residence abroad and naturalization in a foreign country, to return to his native place and to there sojourn free from the duties and obligations of other men of the same age who have lived there continuously. It sometimes happens, of course, that local officials show too much zeal and that there is real hardship connected with a case of expulsion, but it must not be forgotten that the number of persons expelled or otherwise molested on account of their not having performed military service is relatively very small when considered in connection with the great number of American citizens of German origin who visit their former homes every year.[Page 160]
In Germany a record is kept of every male child born in the country. At the beginning of each calendar year official notice is published to the effect that all males born during the twentieth preceding calendar year are to report for examination as to their fitness for military service. At the end of the year proceedings are taken against all those who have failed to report, and they are all sentenced to pay a fine or undergo imprisonment, and warrants are issued for their arrest. When such a person returns from the United States or any other country, unless the fact of his change of nationality is recorded and his name has been taken from the lists, he is liable at any time to be called upon to pay the fine, the same being almost invariably refunded, in the case of an American citizen, upon intervention being made by the embassy. In Zahl’s case he was probably sentenced several years before he became a citizen of the United States.
In this connection I beg to call attention to Mr. Kasson’s dispatch No. 124, of January 6, 1885, and to the inclosures therein. (F. Rels. 1885, p. 392.)
I am, etc.,