File No. 365.117/109.

Ambassador Page to the Secretary of State ad interim .

No. 318.]

Sir: Referring to the Department’s telegram No. 254 of June 9 and telegram No. 261 of June 14 in regard to the detention by the military authorities of Ugo Da Prato, I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of my last note to the Foreign Office upon the subject, [Page 567] which I have handed personally to the Foreign Office yesterday afternoon.

This case has been receiving the Embassy’s most earnest attention since it was first brought to its notice in November of last year by the American Consul at Leghorn, and it has been the subject of considerable correspondence between the Embassy and the Foreign Office.

Recognizing the importance of the principle on which this case is based, I took occasion to discuss again with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the entire subject of the detention in Italy of native-born American citizens, born after the naturalization of their father.

I impressed on him the fact that it has, for more than a hundred years, been a traditional principle of the United States to protect its citizens, and that it was one which he would, I felt sure, recognize as impossible to be waived. He promised to have the question studied carefully at once.

I beg to enclose also a copy of the last note of the Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding the case.

I have [etc.]

Thomas Nelson Page.
[Inclosure 1—Translation.]

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Ambassador Page .

Mr. Ambassador: In relation to my note No. 6 of January 7 last,9 I have the honor to communicate to your excellency that the Minister of War has just informed me that, from the information he has been able to gather and from the communications received from the interested parties, it appears that Mr. Antonio Da Prato, the father of the young man Mario Ugo Da Prato (the said father having lost his Italian citizenship before the birth of his son, by reason of his having taken out naturalization papers in the United States), having changed his residence a number of times between the United States and Italy, finished finally by establishing himself in 1911 with his family in Italy, where he has resided continuously ever since.

Such being the facts in the case, the Ministry of War has been obliged to find that Mr. Antonio Da Prato, in accordance with the provisions of Article 9 No. 3 of the Law of June 13, 1912, numbered 555, has reacquired Italian citizenship, because of his having returned to the land of his nativity and resided therein for more than two years.

That Ministry is also obliged to maintain that this same Italian citizenship, in accordance with Article 12 of the above cited law, has been communicated to his son, Mario Ugo, now residing with his father.

For these reasons, young Mario Ugo Da Prato is found to be an Italian citizen, amenable to military service; that his name cannot be removed from the recruiting lists of the Kingdom; and that he must soon respond to the call to the colors and serve as a soldier in the Italian army.

Accept [etc.]

[Inclosure 2.]

Ambassador Page to the Minister for Foreign Affairs .

No. 571.]

Excellency: With reference to my note No. 557 of June 11 and to our previous correspondence on the subject of the detention in Italy by the military [Page 568] authorities of Mario Ugo Da Prato, a native born American citizen, born after his parents had become duly naturalized American citizens, I have the honor to inform your excellency that I have just received from my Government the following telegram, expressive of the great interest which is taken by my Government in the case:

[Quotes Department’s telegram 261 of June 14.]

Your Excellency will appreciate the point raised by my Government, namely, that the father’s residence in Italy has been in the interest of trade and commerce between Italy and the United States and not, as has apparently been considered by the Royal Italian Ministry of War, by reason of a permanent change of residence.

Consequently, it would certainly seem that the Law No. 555 of June 12, 1912, which was quoted in your excellency’s note of May 4, No. 25019/101, should not be applied in this case.

In fact, this case and the few other cases of native-born American citizens—born, like this youth, after their parents became American citizens—rest on a principle which is, I believe, recognized by Italy and by all other powers; and I feel confident that when the fact shall be realized, your excellency’s Government will appreciate the earnestness with which the case is now presented, and the sanctity of the principle involved.

I therefore hope that your excellency will enable me to send a favorable telegraphic reply to my Government at the earliest possible moment.

Accept [etc.]

Thomas Nelson Page.
  1. Inclosure with Mr. Page’s No. 234 of January 11, fourth paragraph, p. 555.