Mr. Tower to Mr. Hay.

No. 382.]


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Regarding the case of Emil Vibert, a naturalized American citizen, who has asked for permission to return to Lorraine upon a visit to his father, I have received a note from Doctor von Mühlberg, a copy and a translation into English of which are hereto attached, in which the acting secretary of state says, in answer to my request that the fine imposed upon Mr. Vibert for nonperformance of military duty should be removed, that, “the annulment of the fine and costs could be obtained only as an act of grace”, and, therefore, he suggests that Mr. Vibert shall address to the Emperor a petition for the annulment of the fine with costs and for his release from German allegiance.

If Mr. Vibert chooses to avail himself of this proposition and will send to me accordingly a petition addressed to the Emperor, I shall transmit it, with your approval, to the imperial ministry for foreign affairs, and shall support it, in so far as may be proper for me to do so. I am inclined to believe that such a petition would be granted.

I have, etc.,

Charlemagne Tower.

Doctor von Mühlberg to Mr. Tower.

In reply to the note of the 27th of May, the undersigned has the honor to inform His Excellency, Mr. Charlemagne Tower, ambassador extraordinary and [Page 322]plenipotentiary of the United States of America, that the ten years residence abroad by which a German loses his allegiance to Germany, in accordance with paragraph 21, clause 1, of the imperial law of June 1, 1870, does not apply to minors, but only to such as have attained their majority. In the case of Emil Vibert, who was born on the 1st of February, 1874, this term can only be reckoned from the 1st of February, 1895, and has therefore not yet been concluded. Under these circumstances Vibert is still a German subject, as was stated in the note verbale of the imperial ministry for foreign affairs, dated March 27, 1904.

In that note verbale it was stated that, in view of the intervention of his excellency the ambassador in Vibert’s behalf, the proper authorities would be willing to release him from his German allegiance upon his making such a request and paying the fine outstanding against him, together with the costs. The annulment of the fine and costs could only be brought about by an act of grace. Vibert’s interests would, therefore, probably best be served by his addressing a petition to His Majesty the Emperor, praying for the annulment of the fine and costs imposed upon him in consequence of his having evaded his military duties, and for his release from German allegiance. If the ambassador will support such a petition in having it sent to the imperial ministry for foreign affairs, the undersigned will gladly lend his good offices, in view of the special interest in this case taken by the ambassador, to the end that the petition may reach its high destination.

The undersigned avails himself, etc.,