The Ambassador in Great Britain (Houghton) to the Secretary of State

No. 3323

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s instruction No. 1622, December 1, 1928,25 more especially the latter part dealing with the question of dual nationality, and in this connection to report that the Embassy has received an informal note from the Foreign Office stating:

“While the Government of the United Kingdom view with much sympathy the general idea of agreements concerning dual nationality, the subject is one which is shortly to come up for consideration [Page 458] at the proposed Conference on the Codification of International Law at The Hague,26 and they would prefer, so far as they are concerned, to defer consideration of the proposals contained in your letter until after that Conference has met. In the meantime the Governments of the Dominions are being informed of these proposals.”

In discussing the Convention proposed by the Joint Resolution of Congress, referred to in the first paragraph of the Department’s instruction No. 1622 of December 1, 1928, a member of the Embassy staff was given the personal opinion of a ranking officer in the Foreign Office that it was impossible for the British Government to conclude such a convention with the United States without a special Act of Parliament. Furthermore, it was stated that, in view of the fact that there was no compulsory military service in the United Kingdom, it would seem impolitic to introduce such legislation to Parliament. As an example, the hypothesis was given that should it come about that a British subject were to become a commissioned officer of the American Embassy it would be impossible to grant him, without a special Act of Parliament, diplomatic immunity, due to his British citizenship.

I have [etc.]

For the Ambassador:
Ray Atherton
  1. See instruction No. 167, December 1, 1928, to the Ambassador in Belgium. Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. i, p. 497.
  2. The first Conference for the Codification of International Law was held at The Hague, March 13–April 12, 1930.