File No. 136./32.

Enlistment of Americans in foreign armies.

[Circular notice to applicants for passports,]

The Department has received a number of inquiries from people in the United States asking whether enlistment in a foreign army by a citizen of the United States is evidence that he has expatriated himself and whether it is a breach of his duty as a citizen of the United States to enlist in a foreign army.

The law relative to expatriation (Sec. 2, Act of Mar. 2, 1907) says:

That any American citizen shall be deemed to have expatriated himself when he has been naturalized in any foreign state in conformity with its laws, or when he has taken an oath of allegiance to any foreign state.

Therefore, when service in a foreign army involves taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign state, an American citizen who enters such service must be deemed to have expatriated himself.

Service in some foreign armies and in some branches of some foreign armies does not require an oath of allegiance to a foreign state. On the other hand, an oath of allegiance is required as a condition of service in other foreign armies. The Department can not give authentic information on the subject of foreign requirements in this respect, because of their variation and because they are subject to changes.

The Department does not undertake to prescribe the duty of an individual with reference to his citizenship. It is of opinion, nevertheless, that the observance of neutrality in the conflict now engaging certain European powers requires American citizens to avoid participation in those conflicts.