The Consul at Beirut (Knabenshue) to the Secretary of State

No. 2121

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s circular instruction of January 8, 1926 (File No. 136.2/73b), calling attention to a recent ruling of the Department to the effect that the presumption of expatriation under the second paragraph of Section 2 of the Act of March 2, 1907, does not arise against a person who was born in Great Britain and who is residing in one of the self-governing Dominions of the British Empire until he has resided in the latter for five years.

I have the honor to inquire whether a similar situation applies with reference to persons born in one part of the former Ottoman Empire and now residing in some other former part of that Empire now independent of Turkey. For example, many Armenians who were born in Turkey proper are now residing in Syria. Should the presumption of expatriation arise against such naturalized citizens after a two-year or a five-year period?

Section 2 of the Act of March 2, 1907, reads, in part, as follows: “When any naturalized citizen shall have resided for two years in [Page 554] the foreign State from which he came, or for five years in any other foreign State, it shall be presumed that he has ceased to be an American citizen.” While persons born in Turkey proper in returning to Syria are not technically residing in the “foreign State from which they came”, they are returning to the same general geographical area. Further, in the case of Armenians, Syria has become their home in the sense that most of their relatives and friends have migrated to Syria and are now residing here.

I have the honor to request the Department’s instructions in the premises.

I have [etc.]

P. Knabenshue