The Chargé in Portugal (Magruder) to the Secretary of State

No. 2823

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s instruction No. 1049 of August 22, 1929, regarding the action taken by Portuguese officials in compelling naturalized American [Page 482] citizens of Portuguese origin to perform military service in Portugal or to pay a tax in lieu of such service.

In view of the Department’s suggestion that the Legation avail itself of a suitable opportunity to discuss this whole question again with the Portuguese Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have the honor to report that on September 21, 1929, having had occasion to call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs in order to take up another matter, I deemed it advisable to lose no time in drawing the new Minister’s attention to this long pending question. In consequence, I went into the matter briefly, citing as a statement of the position of the United States the Legation’s note No. 942 of July 31, 1929, a copy of which accompanied the Legation’s despatch No. 2767 of August 2, 1929.57 His Excellency assured me that he would lose no time in looking into the question, but made no pretense of being in a position to enter into a discussion thereof at the time, being frank enough to say that, having been at his desk but four days, he knew little or nothing about anything bearing on the work of the portfolio he had taken up so recently. Captain da Fonseca Monteiro was most sympathetic, however, in his general attitude and assured me of his earnest desire to cooperate in this matter, as well as in all others which the Legation might bring to his attention. The ground having been prepared in this matter, it is possible that particular cases in which naturalized citizens of the United States appear to have been conscripted or compelled to pay military service taxes in violation of the present naturalization treaty may profitably be taken up for discussion in the near future.

I have [etc.]

Alexander R. Magruder
  1. Neither printed; the Legation’s note No. 942 to the Portuguese Foreign Office followed closely the relevant portions of the Department’s instruction No. 1029, p. 477.