The Minister in Greece (Skinner) to the Secretary of State

No. 757

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 751 dated December 17, 1928, bringing to the Department’s attention the counter-draft of the Naturalization Treaty submitted to me by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I have today had a further discussion with him, as a result of which I submit the following additional comments:

  • Article I.—It will be observed that under the Greek draft the American naturalization of former Greeks is recognized only in the case of those who have already acquired naturalization. The naturalization of Greeks subsequent to the going into effect of the contemplated treaty is covered by Article IV, and is conditioned upon their having complied with the internal laws of the country whose nationals they are. I have asked Mr. Carapanos to give me a minute specifying the nature of the present internal laws of Greece applicable to this subject, and have intimated to him that probably we could not undertake to make our naturalization conditional upon compliance with the internal laws of a foreign country. He, on his side, impressed me as unwilling to yield the point, explaining that, as Greek legislation recognized the right of Greeks to expatriate themselves, and set forth in what manner they might acquire another nationality with the consent of the Greek Government, it was only reasonable that they should satisfy those requirements before undertaking to obtain another nationality.
  • Article II.—This Article lays down the rule that minor children of former Greek nationals are not affected by the naturalization of their fathers. As to this, Mr. Carapanos remarks that the rules relating to dual nationality apply; that is to say, parents who divest themselves of their original nationality have no right to impose such acquired nationality upon their children, and children, as minors, have no power to elect a nationality until they attain their majority.
  • Article III.—Under this article, nationals of Greece who reside two years in Greek territory after having been naturalized in the United States are held to have renounced their American nationality. I pointed out to Mr. Carapanos that, under our legislation, the naturalized citizen who resides in the land of his birth upwards of two years is “presumed” to have expatriated himself, and have suggested that, as this is in our fixed legislation, we could hardly go further in a treaty. He is giving this suggestion consideration and will let me know how far he is prepared to go.

Neither in the Greek draft nor the Department’s draft of some years ago, does anything appear which regulates the status of persons [Page 461] born in territory which is now Greek, before its annexation, who themselves never owed allegiance to the Greek Government, and who, after acquiring American naturalization, desire to return to what has now become Greek territory. Mr. Carapanos, personally, would like to help us in cases of this kind by a treaty provision, but does not see how it can be accomplished. There are, for example, thousands of persons born in what is at present Greek territory who, under the exchange of populations arrangements, have been compelled to emigrate to Bulgaria and Turkey, and many of them wish to return to the territory in which they were born. The Greek Government feels that it must guard against any arrangement by which such persons, following upon naturalization in the United States, might return to the territory which they have been obliged to leave. Thus far, I have been unable to think of a text which would cover these cases in a satisfactory way. I have pointed out, however, that the recognition of a fact, such as the naturalization of individuals, is one thing, and admission of such individuals to territory is another, the latter being subject to police regulation. It is the common practice of all nations to refuse admission to their country, of objectionable persons, and they cannot be required to state their reasons for doing so. It would seem as though something could be accomplished by an exchange of notes, outside of a treaty, under which, for example, the Greek Government might be willing to instruct Greek consuls in the United States to grant visas to our citizens born, prior to its annexation, in territory now Greek, the granting of the visas in these cases to carry with it a guarantee that the individual would not be molested after arrival.

I have [etc.]

Robert P. Skinner