Mr. Merry to Mr. Hay.

No. 551.]

Sir: May I respectfully request from the Department of State instructions in regard to the nationality of Rafael Franklin Hine, 19 years of age, and a native of Costa Rica The young man has been educated in the public and private schools of the Republic, has never visited the United States, and is entirely ignorant of the English language. His father was born in the United States, and came here when 23 years old, married a native Costa Rican, and died here after five years’ residence as a practicing physician, leaving this one child and a widow, who has resided here since upon property of which she is the owner.

I may state en passant that Mr. Hine, the grandfather of the young man, was at one time United States consul at San José.

[Page 421]

Young Mr. Hine now claims exemption from military service here on the ground that he is an American citizen. I have requested of the Costa Rican foreign office that he be excused therefrom until the question of his citizenship has been passed upon by my Government.

I do not see how Mr. Hine can consistently claim that it is his intention to hereafter make his home in the United States. He is now engaged in the dairy business in this city.

With assurances, etc.,

William Lawrence Merry.