File No. 365.117/109.
Ambassador Page to
the Secretary of State ad
June 17, 1915
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.]
The Minister for Foreign
Affairs to Ambassador Page
Royal Ministry for Foreign
May 4, 1915
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
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
to the Minister for Foreign
June 16, 1915
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