The Secretary of State to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: Referring to the letter and memorandum3 which I sent to you on Thursday in regard to the drafting of aliens in the United States, allow me to say that the Department is receiving many requests from the Spanish Ambassador in regard to the detention of Spanish subjects of military age desiring to leave the United States notwithstanding the provision exempting them from military service, in the Treaty of 1902.4 This Department, and, I understand, the War Department, are waiting upon the word from you as to whether (1) Declarants of military age having treaties of exemption; and (2) Non-declarants of military age having treaties of exemption, are to be accorded the rights granted them by treaty. My suggestions in regard to these classes of persons are contained on Pages 15 and 16 of the memorandum. I now understand from the Spanish Ambassador that his country intends to stand upon its treaty rights; that he had no intention of giving Mr. Polk the impression some days ago that his Government would not object if declarants were drafted. My view, as expressed in this memorandum, is that, inasmuch as there are probably few aliens in the United States of military age coming from neutral countries having treaties [Page 176] of exemption with the United States, we might well stand by the treaties and declare these aliens exempted.

I should be pleased if you could find it possible to notify me of your desires in this matter at the earliest practicable moment.

Faithfully yours,

Robert Lansing
  1. Neither found in Department files.
  2. Malloy, Treaties, 1776–1909, vol. ii, p. 1701.