Mr. Powell to Mr. Hay.
Port au Prince , September 14, 1904 .
Sir: I have the honor to inclose to the Department three naturalization certificates that I believe have been issued fraudulently; one was issued by the United States district court of Connecticut to Metry Khoury. In questioning this man I found he was born in Tripolis; spoke English fairly well; stated he was in business as merchant; had been to the United States, but did not know how long he stayed there; did not know the street he lived on; had never been to New Haven: did not know the name of H. Hoarse (name of witness in certificate); received this paper in New York; paid, he thinks, $3 for it; did not know the one who gave it to him. This was the only paper he had ever had; was asked no questions by any person when certificate was given.
The second, Salim Kalil, has certificate issued by the circuit court [Page 402]of St. Louis. On questioning him—he, by the way, spoke no English—he stated he was born in Tripolis, Syria; did not know how old he was when he came here; had lived a few months in New York, Pittsburg, Chicago, and St. Louis; never stayed at any place long; was a peddler; came from New York to Porto Rico, and from the latter place here; did not know the date or time he had lived in any of the places named; knew the witness whose name was signed to the paper. Asked where he had lived, he stated that he did not know; that he did not know what he ate the previous night; his memory was poor. Asked what he paid for this certificate, he did not know, “possibly a glass of grog, or $1 or $2, or any old thing.” Asked if he had received any other papers before “this, replied he did not know; afterwards, he had received 1, 2, or 3 papers. Asked if any questions had been asked him at the time this paper was given, replied, the big man (judge) had asked him who was President. The same question was asked him here, and he replied, “a man by name Roosevelt.” Neither of these men are married. The last named is to be married within a few days.
The first certificate (Metry Khoury) I believe is fraudulent. Of the two men he seems to be the frankest. The other (Salim Kalil) I have some doubts. I believe he has told an untruth in regard to his possession of this certificate. Both men professed not to know anything of the person who gave such certificates, nor did they know of any Syrian that had been naturalized.
The third (Joseph A. Salloum), Syrian, born at Tripolis, Syria. On examining him he states that he has been off and on in the States about four years and six months; that he never lived in Hartford, though he went there with a man who procured him this paper; that he was in court when the paper was given him, January 15, 1904; that he did not know the man who went with him; that on the 27th of January (same year) came to this place and has since resided here; that he could not speak English; that he was 27 years old (paper states arrived at age January 22, 1901), and that he paid $4.75 for it, and, finally, that he was unmarried.
I have informed them in arresting their certificates that they would be sent to the honorable Secretary of State for further investigation, and until I received an answer from the Department they would be under the protection of your legation.
The Haitian Government has also taken this matter up. It is at this time, the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1), that patents and licenses are issued. The minister of interior has notified the communal authorities in the Republic that all Syrians in business shall pay for their patents or licenses the same as other foreigners in like business, where they claim to be Americans. The matter of their citizenship will be referred to this legation.
I have, etc.,