The Ambassador in France (Wallace) to the Secretary of State

No. 1261

Sir: Referring to the Department’s Instruction No. 408 (File No. So–351.117/167) of March 31st, 1920, relative to the eventual allowance for military service in the American Army by persons regarded as French citizens, under the French law, I have the honor to state that I brought this matter in detail to the attention of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, asking information on all the points raised by the Department in the aforesaid Instruction.

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I have the honor to enclose, in copy and translation, the reply received from the latter,33 together with the text of the communication made by the French Ambassador at Washington to the Federal Government in the premises. It is to be noted that the copy of the latter document which is submitted to the Embassy bears no date and no indication showing to whom it was addressed.

Annexed to the Note in question, also forwarded in copy and translation, is the text of the agreement between the French and Italian Governments granting an allowance for service performed by French citizens in Italy.33

I have [etc.]

Hugh C. Wallace

The French Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the French Ambassador at Washington34

I have the honor to inform you that the Minister of War is disposed to extend the benefit of the circular of June 3rd, 1915 to Frenchmen passed over or considered as defaulters who may take service in the American Army. The terms of this circular are as follows:

By extension of the authorization granted on October 11th last to French citizens residing in Russia, who found it materially impossible to return to France, mobilisable men residing abroad who, prevented by circumstances to rejoin the corps to which they are assigned, have served during the campaign in the ranks of one of the allied Powers, shall be considered as having satisfied, for the duration of the war and in proportion to the time passed under the colors of this army or in captivity, the military obligations imposed upon them by French law.

The benefit of this provision may be claimed by all Frenchmen residing abroad, who, not having been regularly served with the general mobilization order shall have prior to the summons served on them since then, enlisted in the armies of one of the allied Powers.

This favor shall be granted to all Frenchmen concerned, under reservation that they shall serve on the French front and that their military status shall be reported to the Minister of War through my intermediary so that it may be made regular either by the census of the men passed over, or by the crossing off of the names of the defaulters on the list of defaulters. The benefit of this measure shall apply to all those who have been passed over, whether excused or [Page 943] not, on account of the present difficulty of distinguishing them one from another.

As and when the men concerned are drafted to France, our consuls shall send me the lists of our defaulting nationals present under the American colors and these lists shall mention, according to the case, the last place of residence of these Frenchmen or the recruiting office at which they are registered on the date of their engagement in the Federal army and the date on which they are sent to the French front.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. So described in the covering note from the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs (not printed).