Mr. Hardy to Mr. Hay.

No. 56.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that a passport has been refused to William Strahlheim under the circumstances given below. I have received an appealing letter from his wife, but I am still unable to see how, under the instructions of the Department, a passport can be issued him. In consideration of the condition of the applicant and the hardship apparently consequent upon the denial of his application, I beg to submit the grounds on which a passport was refused.

William Strahlheim is a native citizen of the United States, having been born in New York on October 1, 1859. He first applied to this legation for a passport on November 17, 1893, returning passport No. 1832, issued to him while a minor by the legation at Paris on April 8, 1876. He declared that he last left the United States in 1888 and his intention to return within two years. On this application Mr. Broad-head issued him passport No. 59 November 18, 1893.

On October 8, 1895, he applied for a renewal, declaring that he last left the United States in 1890, and his intention to return within a few years. On this application Mr. Broadhead issued him passport No. 280 October 9, 1895.

On December 1, 1897, he applied for a renewal, stating that he last left the United States in 1889. In transmitting his application Consul Lieberknecht said:

He is a young man, not engaged particularly in any business now, but a commercial traveler, married to a Swiss lady who likes to be with her mamma, etc. I told him that I did not know whether you would consider his reasons for remaining here sufficient or not, but would submit his case to you.

Mr. Leishman did not feel warranted in issuing another passport, and referred the application to the Department in his No. 35 December 7, 1897. In its No. 51 of December 24, 1897, the Department, after taking note of the contradictions in Mr. Strahlheim’s applications, instructed Mr. Leishman to ascertain the real facts in regard to Strahlheim’s intention to return to the United States and to judge of the good faith of any declarations he might make as to his future home. Mr. Leishman saw Mr. Lieberknecht personally on the matter, and, as a result of his interview, Strahlheim made a new application on February 16, 1898, for a passport including his wife, in which he declared his intention to return within two years and that he needed a passport for the purpose of “looking after the welfare of my wife’s aged parents.” On this application he was issued passport No. 105 February 17, 1898.

[Page 974]

On March 13, 1900, he applied for a renewal. In transmitting his application Mr. Lieberknecht wrote:

I told him what you said two years ago about renewing his passport again, but he says he is in the same condition he was then. His wife’s parents are old and feeble and can not see their daughter leave them here alone in their old age. Mr. Strahlheim is agent for a rubber house in the United States and sells, among other articles, some American goods. I told him I would submit his case to you, but that there was not much show in his obtaining a passport unless you saw fit to do so.

Mr. Leishman requested Strahlheim to furnish a special affidavit, which was attached to the application forwarded with the passport-returns to the Department, but whose exact tenor is not known to me, and issued him passport No. 455 March 22, 1900.

On April 3 instant he applied for a renewal, declaring his intention to return within eighteen months and that he needed a passport for identification. The application was denied. In reply to my letter informing Mr. Lieberknecht of this fact, I received the reply herewith inclosed. The statement in this letter that Mr. Strahlheim was a physical wreck and not allowed to leave his home without an attendant seemed to invalidate his declaration of intention to return within eighteen months, and in view of all the circumstances I adhered to my first decision. My second letter to Mr. Lieberknecht is inclosed herewith. I also inclose a translation of the letter from Mrs. Strahlheim.

Should the Department see in the above facts any mitigating circumstances under which a passport can be properly issued to Mr. Strahlheim, I would respectfully ask to be so instructed.

I have, etc.,

Arthur S. Hardy.
[Inclosure 1.]

Mr. Lieberknecht to Mr. Hardy.

Dear Sir: On receipt of your favor of the 5th instant, I at once communicated your decision to William Strahlheim in regard to his application for renewal of his passport. He seemed to be discouraged, and requested me to write you once more and explain fully his situation. In addition to the certificate inclosed herewith from his physician, who is a reliable practicing physician here, I can state from personal knowledge that Mr. Strahlheim is a physical wreck, and is not allowed to leave his home without an attendant, that his relatives support him, and that he is really better off in his present condition here than he would be in the United States.

If, in view of these facts, you should be inclined to change your decision, I will forward the application again.

Yours, respectfully,

A. Lieberknecht, Consul.
[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Hardy to Mr. Lieberknecht.

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of April 16 instant, relating to the application of Mr. William Strahlheim for a passport.

In that application, returned to you with my letter of the 5th instant, he stated [Page 975] his intention to return to the United States within eighteen months. The application was refused on the ground of his repeated failure to make good his previous declarations of a similar character, the conflicting statements given in previous applications as reasons for not doing so, and the warning given him by my predecessor on the issue of his last passport that the same would not be renewed. In your present letter you state that Mr. Strahlheim is a physical wreck and is not allowed to leave his home without an attendant, and is better off where he is than he would be in the United States. This would seem to indicate that his declaration to return within eighteen months was of doubtful fulfillment, if, indeed, it was made with any real expectation that it could be realized.

As explained in my letter of the 5th instant, this case has been already the subject of correspondence with the Department, and the reasons for issuing a passport grows less with each new application. I should be glad to see my way to reversing my decision, but the reasons for Mr. Strahlheim’s being unable to comply with the instructions of the Department, however unfortunate in themselves, do not alter the fact or the regulations.

I must therefore decline again his application.

I am, etc.,

Arthur S. Hardy.
[Inclosure 3.—Translation.]

Mrs. Strahlheim to Mr. Hardy.

Sir: My husband has been suffering for a long time. He is nervous and cf unsound mind, and the doctors have already discussed the question whether it would not be better to take him to an asylum.

Under these circumstances it is absolutely impossible for him to comply with the requirements of American laws and to go there in order to have his passport renewed. I pray you instantly, as my husband needs my assistance as also that of a man to wait upon him, to kindly issue him a new passport permitting his prolonged stay here and his taking advantage of the necessary special medical treatment.

Should he recover he undoubtedly will go to America to perform his duties as a citizen. His situation and residence in Zurich without identification papers would become impossible.

Hoping that in consideration of the above facts you will to this extent help the wife of a very ill man, I remain, etc.,

Leonore Strahlheim.