The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Melbourne (Sammons)

Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 433 of December 16, 1920, enclosing a copy of your communication addressed to the Secretary of the Australian Department of Home and Territories. It appears that the Australian authorities, though advised by you of the last proviso of Section 2 of the Act of March 2, 1907, which provides that no American citizen shall be allowed to expatriate himself when this country is at war, nevertheless continue the naturalization of American citizens under the Commonwealth laws.

While it was appropriate for you, during the period that the proviso above quoted was operative, to inform the Australian authorities of the American Law precluding expatriation in time of war, yet you will understand that the municipal law of this country has no more weight in a foreign country than the officials of that country may choose to accord it. The Government of the United States in admitting foreigners to citizenship has never concerned itself with the status of such persons under the laws of their countries of origin. Obviously this Government is not in a position to dictate to foreign governments with regard to the naturalization of American citizens under their laws.

With reference to recent naturalizations of Americans in Australia, it may be observed that, whatever may have been the effect of the Joint Resolution of Congress of March 3, 1921,1 the Department is of the opinion that under the Joint Resolution of July 2,2 terminating the state of war, the proviso of the Act of March 2, 1907, is made inoperative, and that accordingly Americans who have been naturalized in a foreign country or taken an oath of allegiance to a foreign country since July 2, 1921, have expatriated themselves.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Wilbur J. Carr
  1. 41 Stat. 1359.
  2. See telegram no. 1231, July 5, to the Commissioner at Berlin, vol. ii, p. 3.