The Secretary of State to the Minister in Norway (Swenson)

No. 495

Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 1526 of October 19, 1929, in which you refer to your despatch No. 1453 of July 3, 1929, and previous correspondence concerning the proposal of this Government looking to the conclusion of a treaty with Norway under which persons born in either country of parents having the nationality of the other, and continuing to reside in the country of birth, may visit the country of their parents’ nationality temporarily without being held for the performance of military or other national services.

Accompanying your despatch is a note of October 9 from the Norwegian Foreign Office to the effect that a formal treaty upon this subject is unnecessary. The reasons given for this view are as follows:

“Such cases will continue to be so rare as to be of little or no significance. However, should a man who has acquired both Norwegian [Page 475] and American nationality through birth and who has his permanent residence in the United States visit Norway temporarily he will always have the opportunity of submitting the matter of his military service in Norway to the highest conscription authorities, in which case it may confidently be assumed that the decision will be made with due regard to his American citizenship, so that he will not be required to perform military duty in Norway during the period when, pursuant to the Convention of 1871 he is exempt therefrom provided that all the circumstances governing the case point to his American citizenship.”

The Department infers that the treaty provision to which reference is made is Article 3 of the protocol to the naturalization convention between the United States and Sweden and Norway, which was signed at Stockholm May 26, 1869, which article reads as follows:

“III. Relating to the 3d article of the convention.

“It is further agreed that if a Swede or Norwegian, who has become a naturalized citizen of the United States, renews his residence in Sweden or Norway without the intent to return to America, he shall be held by the government of the United States to have renounced his American citizenship.

“The intent not to return to America may be held to exist when the person so naturalized resides more than two years in Sweden or Norway.”

You are requested to endeavor to obtain a definite assurance from the Norwegian Government in regard to the point last mentioned. In taking the matter up with the Foreign Office you may say that this Government would still be glad to enter into a formal treaty governing cases of the kind mentioned which would state definitely the conditions upon which persons born in the United States of Norwegian parents would be able to visit Norway temporarily without being detained for the performance of military or national services.45

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
William R. Castle, Jr.
  1. A treaty between the United States and Norway regarding military service was signed at Oslo, November 1, 1930; Department of State Treaty Series No. 832.