Mr. Hay to Mr. Tower.

No. 215.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 382, of the 11th instant, reporting the result of your formal presentation to the German Government of the military case of Emil Vibert, a naturalized American citizen, who has asked for permission to return to Lorraine on a visit to his father.

The Department is of opinion that you may inform Mr. Vibert of the suggestion from the foreign office that the only means for Mr. Vibert to obtain release from German allegiance and the annulment of the fine imposed on him in 1898 for nonperformance of military service is by favorable action on a petition to be addressed by Mr. Vibert to His Majesty the Emperor.

Should Mr. Vibert send such a petition to the embassy you may [Page 323]transmit it to the German foreign office. But in order that such course may not be construed as a tacit admission, at least, of the German contention that Vibert is still a German subject, which is opposed to the contention of this Government that the naturalization treaties existing between the two countries are applicable to Alsace-Lorraine, and that under such treaties Vibert is and should be recognized as a citizen of the United States, you will, in transmitting the petition, state to the imperial ministry for foreign affairs that in doing so the embassy’s action is not to be understood as conceding the German contention that the naturalization treaties do not apply to Alsace-Lorraine.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.