File No. 138.4/27a

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassadors and Ministers in European Countries

[Circular telegram]

The Department is informed that many persons not American citizens apply for American passports and consular registration certificates to enable them to leave their native lands, or other European countries, and come to this country, some of them for the special purpose of evading military service. It is, therefore, especially important to observe standing instructions concerning the issuance of these documents. Regular emergency passports and consular registration certificates should be issued only to native and naturalized American citizens and citizens of the insular possessions. Native citizens can not be required to produce birth certificates, but should [Page 723] be required to submit satisfactory identification. In doubtful cases they should be required to give references to persons in this country of whom the Department may make inquiries. Persons claiming citizenship through naturalization should be required to submit naturalization certificates or old passports. If not provided with such documents, the Department should be informed by telegraph of name of court in which naturalization is alleged, and date, so that inquiries may be made.

Limited passports, under Section 1, act of March 2, 1907, may be issued by embassies and legations only to persons who have resided in this country three years, have made declarations of their intention to become American citizens, and have sojourned abroad for less than six months. They should not be issued in countries of which applicants are natives, and they should contain statements that they are not valid in such countries. They should be issued only to persons desiring to return immediately to the United States, and should not be issued to persons desiring to visit countries with which their native countries are at war.

Special consular registration certificates may be issued to wives of persons in the United States who have resided here for more than three years and have made declarations of their intention to become American citizens. Such certificates should not describe the holders as American citizens, but should set forth their exact status.

Other than the above, no formal documents should be issued by embassies, legations, or consulates of the United States to persons abroad. In cases of doubt, Department’s authorization should be obtained before passports or registration certificates are issued.

Repeat to consulates.