The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister of the Netherlands.

No. 72.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 30th’ultimo, asking whether one H. R. J. C. Van Hall, who had been resident in Holland with his father since 1891, but who was born in the United States, is to be considered under the laws of the United States a citizen thereof.

In reply I beg to say that there is no statute of the United States prescribing how the quality of American citizenship is lost, and the Executive is without authority to determine when and how an American citizen ceases to be such unless the question is determined by a convention between the United States and the country in which the American citizen is resident. This Government, as you are aware, holds to the doctrine of the right of expatriation, and recognizes the right of an American citizen to acquire the citizenship of another country. In the particular case in which you mention it appears that the young man, having been born in this country on July 16, 1887, has not yet reached the age of 21 years, and the right to acquire other citizenship than that of his birth is not held to exist until he has reached his majority.

The inclosures with your note are returned herewith, as requested.

Accept, etc.,

Robert Bacon.