368.117/107: Telegram

The Chargé in Greece (Hall) to the Secretary of State

82. In spite of Greek law stating that former Greek subjects naturalized in other countries before January 15, 1914 will not be claimed as Greek subjects and in spite of promise to exempt men belonging to classes 1916 to 1921 inclusive who have served in United States Army, Greek military authorities continue to seize for military service naturalized citizens of the United States who are exempt. Usual method is to seize papers and imprison victim. After several days he is forced into military service. If he is able to communicate with Legation matter is taken up with Foreign Office after which there is delay of several weeks before his release is permitted.

Authorities have recently seized for military service several former Turkish subjects who have become American citizens. I am unofficially informed this action is based on their not having obtained consent of Turkish Government to change nationality. I have requested Foreign Minister for an explanation why Greek Government sees fit to pass judgment on question of whether or not citizens of another country have fulfilled their obligations to that country before becoming American citizens.

While there have been not over a dozen requests for assistance from naturalized citizens of the United States the fact that Legation loses track of these people in many cases before all details can be obtained together with fact that there are rumors of many others in trouble makes me deeply apprehensive that many may have tried to report their cases to Legation and that their letters have been stopped by the censor. In view of the fact that new offensive in Asia Minor may start any day I believe it almost imperative that United States should issue very strong warning to Greece that Greek Government will be held responsible for injury or death of naturalized citizens of the United States illegally forced into military service and requesting their immediate release. No passports or other seized papers have been returned. I think it advisable to include in warning statement regarding this matter also, and refusal to vise passports and arrest and imprisonment of naturalized Americans while their cases are being investigated. I believe it advisable for United States to insist upon exemption only for those men naturalized before January 15, 1914 or ex-service men belonging to class of 1916 to 1921. If United States insists upon exemption for those naturalized after January 15, 1914 question of dual nationality will be immediately injected into discussion and may cause fatal delay.