504.418A2/252: Telegram

The Minister in the Netherlands ( Diekema ) to the Acting Secretary of State

54. From Miller. Conference 22. The commission on nationality has adopted the following recommendations:

1. The Conference is unanimously of the opinion that it is very desirable that the various states should, in the exercise of their power of regulating questions of nationality, make every effort to reduce so far as possible cases of statelessness and that the League of Nations should continue the work which it already has in hand for the purpose of arriving at an international settlement of this serious question.

2. The Conference is also unanimous in declaring that it is very desirable that the various states should, in the exercise of their power of regulating questions of nationality, make every effort to reduce so far as possible cases of dual nationality and that steps should be taken by the League of Nations to prepare the way for a settlement by international agreement of the various conflicts which arise from the possession by individuals of two or more nationalities.

In particular it is recommended that the various states adopt legislation designed to facilitate renunciation by persons born with dual nationality of the countries in which they are not residing and that such renunciation be not made subject to the fulfillment of unnecessary conditions. The wording of the second paragraph of the foregoing recommendation is provisional.

3. It is desirable that states should give effect to the principle that the acquisition of a foreign nationality through naturalization involves the loss of the previous nationality.

At the same time so long as the principle is not universally applied it is desirable that before conferring their nationality by naturalization, states should endeavor to ascertain that the person concerned has fulfilled, or [is] in a position to fulfill, the conditions required by the law of his country for loss of nationality.

4. The Conference recommends to the Governments the study of the question whether it would not be possible:

(1)
To introduce into their law the principle of the equality of the sexes in matters of nationality, taking particularly into consideration the interests of the children, and
(2)
Especially to decide that in principle the nationality of the wife should not be affected without her consent either by the mere fact of marriage or by any change in the nationality of her husband.

5. The Conference is of the opinion that a woman who in consequence of her marriage has lost her nationality without acquiring that of her husband, should be able to obtain a passport from the state of which her husband is a national.

6. (Very tentatively adopted.) The Conference recommends to the Governments the study of the question whether it would not be desirable [Page 216] that in the case of a person losing his nationality without acquiring another the state whose nationality he last possessed shall at the request of the country where he is residing and under certain conditions admit him to its territory.

7. The Conference, with the view of facilitating the progressive codification of international law, expresses the [understanding?] that, in the future, states shall be guided as far as possible by the provisions of the acts of the first Conference for the Codification of International Law in any special conventions which they may conclude amongst themselves.

8. The first Conference for the Codification of International Law draws attention to the advisability of examining at a future conference questions connected with the proof of nationality. It would be highly desirable to determine the legal value of certificates of nationality which have been, or may be, issued by the competent authorities, and to lay down the conditions for their recognition by other states.

My comments on the foregoing recommendations follow:

  • To numbers 1, 2, 6 and 8, I see no objection.
  • Number 3. The first paragraph is in accord with our policy but I object very strongly to the second paragraph which in effect nullifies the first. In my opinion we could never accept and consequently cannot accept the recommendation.
  • Number 4. Clause (1) is our proposal. As to clause (2), there is at least some doubt in view of the provisions of the Cable Act10 regarding loss of nationality of a woman marrying an ineligible alien. However, the recommendation only recommends study of the question, and in view of clause (1), which we proposed, and in view also of the fact that clause (2) raises a very delicate question, it is my view that we should accept number 4.
  • Number 5. I oppose as we cannot issue passports to persons not owing allegiance.
  • Number 7. Necessarily I object to this as the general convention, which is one of the acts of the Conference, is unacceptable to us.

The question remains whether any statement should be made regarding these recommendations when they come before the plenary session of the Conference where they can be adopted by a majority vote. I think that a statement should be made opposing numbers 3 and 7 and that we should merely vote against number 5.

All our delegates concur.

Diekema
  1. 42 Stat. 1021.