The Chargé in Greece (Goold) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 15.]
Sir: Adverting to the inquiry in your No. 169 of June 15th, relative to the attitude of the Greek Government concerning claims of Americans arising out of the confiscation of property by Turkey under the Exchange of Populations Convention signed January 30, 1923, I have the honor to state that I duly made inquiry concerning this matter at the Foreign Office, and that while I have not been vouchsafed a formal reply, the legal expert nearly always consulted by the Government on property questions arising out of the Exchange of Populations Agreement has given me the required information.
Practically all persons whose property interests are covered by the agreement in question and who are residing in America are either Greeks or Turks in the eyes of the Governments concerned. The Turkish nationals of the Greek Orthodox religion who left the Turkish domain subsequent to October 18, 1912, most probably did not secure the permission of the Turkish Government to naturalize themselves as American citizens. Therefore, in contemplation of both Turkish and Greek law, they remained Turks until by the operation of the Exchange of Populations Agreement they acquired Greek nationality. As to the children of such persons, it must be remembered that under the Greek law—and probably the Turkish, they do not acquire their father’s new nationality by his naturalization. They retain their original nationality.[Page 51]
Interested persons should therefore proceed without reference to the fact that they are American citizens, and should file their claims with the Ministry of Agriculture in Athens. I am forwarding a number of forms of claims for distribution to them, and have the honor to add that whereas there is a sort of statute of limitations barring consideration of claims filed after March, 1927, the Greek Government is seriously considering an extension of the time limit in view of the fact that some 50,000 claims have been filed since that date.
As to the rights of Orthodox communicants and Moslems who left Turkey and Greece, respectively, before the 18th of October, 1912, or any Greek or Turk who did not acquire his nationality through the Exchange of Populations Agreement, they are governed by the agreement of December 1, 1926 between Greece and Turkey,64 concerning which see Mr. Skinner’s No. 122  of December 2, 1926, my No. 342 of November 3, 1927, Mr. Skinner’s No. 461 of February 3, 1928 and his No. 541 of April 10, 1828.65
Does an American, say a Greek Orthodox communicant formerly an Ottoman national who emigrated from Turkey to America in 1907, thereafter becoming naturalized, whose property in Asia Minor was destroyed during the course of the operations of 1919–22, benefit by the agreement, or does it apply to the American heir of Turkish nationals of the Greek Orthodox religion who were killed in Asia Minor in 1922, leaving property, the heir having left Asia Minor in 1903 for America where he was naturalized.
Foreign Office note No. 14195 [14915?] of December 7, 1927, of which I enclose a translation, answers these questions in the affirmative, and persons basing their claims on the rights of non-exchangeables should file them with the Greek Delegation to the Mixed Claims Commission at Constantinople, accompanied by the certificate of local authorities (county clerk) to the effect (1) that they are of Turkish origin (place of birth should be stated); (2) that they are of the Greek Orthodox religion; (3) stating the dates of their departure from Turkey and the acquisition of their new domicile.
In a note dated March 13, 1928, the Foreign Office advised Mr. Skinner that, in the certificates required from the local authorities, no mention should be made of the fact that the claimants had acquired American nationality. The mention of such a fact would permit the Turkish Delegation to the Mixed Commission to take advantage of the conflict of jurisdiction arising out of double nationality to remove the claims from the competence of the Commission to the detriment of the interested parties.
I have [etc.]