File No. 365.117/59.

Ambassador Page to the Secretary of State .

No. 234]

Sir: Referring to the correspondence in regard to the detention in Italy by the military authorities of the Reverend Dominick Cassetta2 [Page 555] who, as already reported by the Consul at Florence, left Italy early in December without awaiting official permission to do so, I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of a note received today from the Royal Minister of Foreign Affairs upon the subject of his detention, as well as upon the general question involved.

I have [etc.]

Thomas Nelson Page.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Ambassador Page .

No. 6.]

Mr. Ambassador: With reference to your last note, of the 9th of December, No. 341, in regard to the Cassetta case,3 I have the honor to inform your excellency that the Minister of War has just advised me that the incomplete information as yet in the possession of that Ministry regarding Domenico Cascetta or Cassetta makes it necessary to still further delay a definite reply to your excellency’s inquiries regarding him.

It has been ascertained, however, that Domenico Cascetta, the son of Anello and Gentilella Rosa, was born at Auletta, in the District of Sala Consilina, on May 30, 1878, and his present military status is perfectly regular, because the class to which all those born in the same year in which he was born has been enrolled in the Third Category.

The Prefect of Naples as well as the Under Prefect of Sala Consilina have been unable to furnish any explanation regarding the obstacles which are alleged to have been interposed to prevent Mr. Cassetta’s return to the country of his adoption. On the contrary, those officials affirm that no demand has ever been made upon them for a passport by Mr. Cassetta.

Speaking generally upon this subject of the return to the United States of former Italians naturalized in that country, I have the honor to point out to your excellency that while the provisions of Royal Decree No. 803 of August 6, 1914, may have suspended the emigration from Italy of every one of military age, nevertheless a circular telegram from the Ministry of the Interior dated September 7 last, which circular was afterwards confirmed by the Ministry of War, with a desire of moderating somewhat the effects of that decree, authorized the prefectural authorities of the Kingdom, in all cases of admitted and proven necessity, to issue passports to those belonging to the Third Category and, generally speaking, to those belonging to the Territorial Militia as well.

In view of the foregoing, it would not have been very difficult for Mr. Cascetta to have obtained permission to return to the United States, whenever he made the proper showing that it was necessary for him to go there.

In order for him to obtain a passport it will be necessary that he apply to the Under Prefect at Sala Consilina, which is his recruiting district.

In conclusion, it should be pointed out that Cassetta, even if he had proved that his Italian citizenship had been lost in order for him to have obtained his American citizenship, could not be exonerated by this fact, from military service in Italy in view of Article 12 of the Civil Code, which was in full force and effect at the time he acquired his American citizenship, and at the time when he should have been in Italy performing his duties as a soldier.

Accept [etc.]