File No. 138/125
The Ambassador in Frame (Sharp) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 1.]
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that several applicants for passports at this office have openly expressed their desire and intention [Page 909] of enlisting in the armed forces of one or another of the belligerent nations.
When it was evident that an applicant desired his passport to enable him to go to another of thee belligerent states with the object of there offering himself for enlistment, such applicants were informed that the Embassy could not consistently give them a document requesting the protection of foreign nations in their behalf, in view of the fact that their definite enlistment would, of necessity, remove them from the protection of the Government of the United States and would, therefore, make it impossible for the Government of the United States to request other powers, particularly those against which they might be actually engaged, to protect them as American citizens.
It is thought that several American citizens actively serving in the French Army, and in possession of American passports, would be reluctant to surrender these documents, owing to their temptation to use them in case of capture by the enemy as a means of securing more favorable treatment than they would otherwise enjoy as citizens of France.
The Embassy has made no effort to deprive such Americans of documents they already hold, but is, whenever possible, refusing to grant passports to applicants who are likely to use them in this way.
Unless the Embassy receives instructions to the contrary, it will continue to act as outlined above.
I have [etc.]