File No. 351.117/52.
The Secretary of State to Ambassador Sharp.
Washington, July 1, 1915.
Sir: I send you herewith a copy of a letter of June 10 from Professor Joseph Seronde, of New Haven, Connecticut, in which he says that he has received from the French Consul General in New York [Page 389]City a notice to the effect that he is “to be subjected to the full rigor of the law” for not having joined his regiment in France before November 14 last. It appears that Mr. Seronde came to this country at the age of fourteen in the year 1897 and has obtained naturalization as a citizen of the United States, and he says that he did not consider himself bound to obey the military laws of France in view of the fact that he is an American citizen. He enquires whether, in case he goes to France after the war, he will be “disciplined” for having failed to respond to the summons of the French military authorities.
You will please present this case to the French Government and say that this Government cannot recognize the right of French officials to summon citizens of the United States residing within the territory and jurisdiction of this country to leave the United States and go to France to perform military service, whether or not they may be considered French citizens under French law. You may add that this objection applies equally to cases of persons who were born in France and have obtained naturalization, as citizens of this country, at the same time renouncing allegiance to their native country, and cases of persons born in the United States of French parents. With regard to the latter it should be remarked that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides that all persons born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States.
You may also say to the French Government that it is hoped that instructions will be issued to diplomatic and consular officers of France in this country to desist in the future from summoning for military service in France persons who are residing in the United States and are citizens of this country.
I am [etc.]