File No. 8352/1.

Minister Merry to the Secretary of State.

No. 4.]

Sir: I have the honor to forward herewith (inclosure No. 1) printed copy and translation of instructions from the British minister at Guatemala City, addressed to the British consul at San Juan del Norte, and by him to the vice-consul at Bluefields, who publishes them for the information of British subjects on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. You will note thereby that the British Government practically abandons the protection of the “children of British fathers who, having been born in Nicaragua, remain within the jurisdiction of that Government.” That this is the result of the note remains proven by the fact that the Managua Government now claims the allegiance of all natives born in Nicaragua, with the right to tax and make them pay forced loans and perform military service.

In registering American citizens in Central America, the consular officers are finding many of them under same conditions and others who are naturalized citizens, without interests in the United States or really intending to return there, although they so aver when asking registry. My attention having been specially called to this on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, I have replied that an intention expressed under oath can not well be questioned on the first registration, but that the consular officer can judge, if it is made in good faith, by subsequent registry, and must himself be the judge of an honest compliance with the new law, which can not fail, if properly enforced, to affect unfavorably the status of many naturalized citizens of the United States permanently domiciled in Central America.

With assurance, etc.,

William Lawrence Merry.


His Britannic Majesty’s minister for Central America sent the undersigned, British vice-consul at Bluefields, for His Britannic Majesty’s consul at San Juan del Norte, the following:

“You will understand that the rights of the children of British fathers born in a foreign country to British nationality and to the privileges it carries with it remain in full force anywhere but in the country of their birth, and even there, too, if the laws of that country do not determine otherwise. But if that country claims their allegiance, and they choose to remain there in spite of that fact, His Majesty’s Government does not protect them.

“It would be well for you to let this be known to the British subjects in your consular district.”

I call the attention of British subjects to the above decisions of His Britannic Majesty’s minister.

J. A. Belanger, Vice-Consul.