Mr. Thomas to Mr. Hay.
Stockholm, December 31, 1901.
Sir: Referring to your instruction No. 118, of August 20 last, setting forth the case of Johannes P. Hoiland, a naturalized American citizen, born in Norway, who. had asked the Department to obtain redress from the Government of Norway for alleged unlawful arrest and imprisonment, I have the honor to inform you that in compliance with your directions I at once, on September 3, addressed a note to the minister for foreign affairs, a copy of which herewith inclosed, giving the facts in the case as detailed in your instruction, and requesting to be informed of the attitude of the Government of Norway in the premises.
I am now in receipt of a note from the foreign office, dated December 27, a copy of which, accompanied by a translation, is inclosed, transmitting copy of a letter from the minister of the interior of Norway, which I inclose in English translation.
In this letter his excellency Mr. Steen gives a full and exhaustive history of the case, from which it appears that Hoiland, after his return to Norway, in December, 1897, was enrolled for military service and notified to appear at the recruit school at Maldesletten on May 2, 1899.
He did not appear; neither did he prove to the proper military authorities who had ordered him to appear that he was an American citizen.
On his not appearing, the commander of the company (captain) at the recruit school charged the sheriff at Time, in May, 1899, to visit Hoiland in person and demand his explanation as to the reason for his absence, and to request him to produce his American citizenship papers as proof in case he had such papers. Hoiland told the sheriff that he was an American citizen, but refused to produce or show the military authorities his citizen papers; he said he had shown them to the police in connection with the fine case, and he would not now show them to any more Norwegian authorities.
It was after this that Hoiland, on June 7, 1899, was transported to the Malde drilling grounds and placed under arrest. The next day, June 8, he showed his American citizen papers, after which he was immediately released.
The opinion is expressed that Hoiland has only himself to blame for his arrest and imprisonment, since these were caused by his default to [Page 491]show his American citizen papers on request by the proper military authorities.
It is also held that, although the treaty between the United States and Sweden and Norway of May 26, 1869, protects naturalized American citizens of Norwegian birth returning to Norway from military service, unless they again become domiciled in Norway, it is nevertheless incumbent on such Norwegian emigrants to prove themselves to be American citizens whenever officially requested to do so by the proper Norwegian authorities.
In fact, that if such persons have the right to be free from military service because they are American citizens, they have also the duty laid upon them of proving such citizenship.
In this connection I beg to call your attention to the printed notice issued by the Department of State and given to naturalized American citizens of Norwegian birth on their applying for a passport.
Paragraphs 3 and 4 of this notice read as follows:
A naturalized American who performed his military service or emigrated when he was not liable to it, and who infracted no laws before emigrating, may safely return to Norway.
He must, however, report to the conscription officers, and, on receiving a summons, present himself at the meetings of the conscripts in order to prove his American citizenship.
It would seem that if Hoiland had acted in accordance with the plain and wise advice given by the Department he would have saved himself all the trouble of which he complains.
I have, etc.,