File No. 365.117/106.
Senator Lodge to the Counselor of the Department of State.
My Dear Mr. Lansing: I am much indebted to you for your telegram5 and also for your letter of the 2d.5 I enclose herewith certified copies of the court record of Antonio Da Prato’s naturalization and of the birth certificate of his son Ugo. Their citizenship, therefore, is perfectly clear.6[Page 558]
I note what you say in regard to the Italian law, which obviously does not apply to young Da Prato; but, speaking generally, I cannot assent for a moment to the proposition that such a thing as dual citizenship is possible. As you well know, we constituted ourselves the champions against the doctrine of indefeasible allegiance and have succeeded in compelling the acceptance of our view by all the nations with the exception, I think, of Russia and Turkey. The abandonment of indefeasible allegiance is in itself the establishment of the principle that there can be no such thing as dual citizenship, either in whole or in part, and to attempt to retain the right over a boy born in this country of parents not naturalized—which is not the case with Da Prato—for military service in the country of origin of the parents is absurd on its face and is something to which we should never assent for a moment. The German law, promulgated on January 1, 1914, is of course a denial of the doctrine for which we have successfully contended for three quarters of a century and carries with it the monstrous proposition that a man retaining allegiance in the country of origin is supported by that country in committing perjury by taking the oath of allegiance to the United States and becoming naturalized and renouncing allegiance to the country of birth while he retains citizenship there. The proposition is so preposterous that it is difficult to state it intelligently. Italy, for example, has no possible claim on the children of Italian parents, not naturalized, born in this country, especially if they have exercised all the rights of citizenship as they are entitled to do under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Such a child has never been an Italian subject for one minute. Italy has no more claim on him than she has on one of my children or on one of yours. I believe that there is also something similar to this in French law. We shall find ourselves in a very awkward position with our large body of naturalized citizens and their children if we do not take the strongest position against Article 12 of the Italian Civil Code which you quote.
Very truly yours,