File No. 6272/1.

Minister Merry to the Secretary of State.

No. 1277.]

Sir: I have the honor to forward herewith (inclosure No. 1) copy and translation of an official circular from the “Ministry of Government and Foreign Affairs” of Nicaragua to the “Political Chiefs” [Page 919] of all departments, dated March 25 last, relating to Nicaraguan citizenship. You will notice the absolute claim, without distinction, that all persons born on Nicaraguan soil are citizens of Nicaragua regardless of parentage, and consequently liable to all forced loans and exactions placed upon all citizens of the Republic, even in greater degree if they question the authority.

It seems to me that the wording of this circular also includes all Nicaraguans who have been naturalized abroad and have returned to their native country without exception. I deem it proper to call your attention to this circular for the reason that I have already an application from Mr. Henry Cole, a native of Rivas, Nicaragua, whose father was born in the United States but for years practiced medicine at Rivas and died there. The son was educated in the United States and speaks English well. He has always considered himself a citizen of the United States, has been so treated by the local authorities, and has a passport (now expired). As he has no property upon which the Government can levy a forced loan they may not trouble him, but he fears a demand for military service and so presents his case to me. I have written him to make immediate application for a new passport and that I would do what I can to protect him. I know Mr. Cole personally as a respectable man, well known in Rivas.

This circular of Minister Gámez will doubtless cause more applications to this legation for relief from forced exactions, and, if the war continues, from military service. It will therefore be agreeable to me if you will instruct me how I am to proceed in such cases. Meanwhile I shall, as in the Cole case, request proof of American citizenship under our laws before opening any case with the Nicaraguan Government. This matter has also a special interest at this time, arising from our proposition now made to Nicaragua for a naturalization treaty.

With assurances, etc.,

William Lawrence Merry.

Circular from Nicaraguan Government relative to responsibility for loans and contributions from natives of Nicaragua with foreign parentage, etc.

Messrs. Political Chiefs: The Government has seen with regret that some Nicaraguans with the antipatriotic end of liberating themselves from the public charges and from the contributions of the natives, renounce their country and claim to be foreigners on their own soil, pretending that they are covered by the flag of their predecessors, who were European immigrants domiciliated and having died in the country, and with this proceeding to secure the inaction of the lower authorities, who many times do not know how to proceed, I give you the following instructions in order that you will bring it to the notice of all the officials under you.

Article 19 of the political constitution of 1826 establishes, that all are natives that are born in Nicaraguan territory; the article 19 of that of 1838 copies the same decision, and the 17 of that of 1858 declares that the natives of the Republic are Nicaraguans. Consequently all born on our soil under the constructional régime of these three political constitutions are and will be Nicaraguans, although when they may be sons of illustrious Europeans and not of humble foreign immigrants who, in conformity with these same constitutions, have been Nicaraguans by the act of having domiciliated themselves among us.

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Consequently you can demand of these false foreigners, born before the year 1893, all the services and contributions which you demand of the sons of Nicaragua, but in the higher ratio to punish them for their want of patriotism.

You will have it thus understood and you will please order the publication of this resolution, that it may reach the notice of all.

I am your attentive and obedient servant, the minister of government and foreign relations,