File No. 18253/14.
Memorandum from the Italian Embassy.
Washington, November 6, 1909.
The royal embassy of Italy has received the Department of State’s memorandum, dated November 4,1 and while tendering its thanks therefor regrets its inability to yield to the explanations therein set [Page 658] forth and to the construction placed upon articles 3 and 23 of the treaty of commerce and navigation of February 26, 1871.
Its argument hinges on the distinction between “resident Italians” and “nonresident Italians,” which is not contemplated in the treaty, and the introduction of which in its interpretation would therefore seem arbitrary, and also on the meaning of the word “natives.”
The Department of State takes the term “natives” in the sense of “Americans of other States,” inasmuch as it lays stress on the point that Italians in Pennsylvania are accorded the same treatment as American citizens who do not belong in Pennsylvania. Now, “Americans of other States” would appear to be the opposite, or, if preferred, the counter term of “natives,” which is the name used in the treaty. An “American citizen of another State” can not, as it seems, be styled a “native” “born in the place,” which is the definition of the word (Webster). This would make “natives” synonymous with “Americans of the State.”
As the treaty was signed by the illustrious George Perkins Marsh, who was a philologist of worth as well as an eminent diplomatist, it does not seem possible that he should have used the word “natives” in the sense of “American citizens of other States,” but he must have used it in the sense of “American citizens of the State.”
It seems, therefore, to the royal embassy when Articles III and XXIII of the treaty say that the Italians are on an equal footing with the natives, the word “natives” must be understood as meaning the Americans of the State—the Californians in California, Virginians in Virginia, Pennsylvanians in Pennsylvania—and that Italians in Pennsylvania should therefore be treated as the Americans of Pennsylvania—“natives.”
The embassy of Italy submits the foregoing remarks to the Department of State, and begs that it will kindly take them again into consideration.