The Consul General at Rio de Janeiro (Dawson) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 471

Sir: I have the honor to refer to despatch No. 462 of April 1, 1930, from this office, reporting the publication of a notice concerning dual nationality of persons born in Brazil of British parents, by H. B. M. Consuls-General in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo; and calling attention to the possibility that the evident international agreement on which such notices were founded might be invoked in the case of persons born in Brazil of American parents.

The first case of this nature affecting American citizens in this district has just arisen and has been adjusted as follows:

On April 8, 1930, Mr. Charles M. Pratt an American citizen formerly registered in this office but now a permanent resident of New York on a temporary visit to Rio de Janeiro, called at the Central Police Bureau for the purpose of having the American passports of [Page 481] himself and family visaed for journey to the Argentine. The police, without question, visaed his passport and the passports of his wife and one daughter who was born in the United States. However, they refused to visa the Department passport of his daughter Martha, who was born in Rio de Janeiro in February 1909. Miss Pratt resided in the United States from 1911 to March, 1930 inclusive.

The Police informed Mr. Pratt that in accordance with Brazilian law his daughter was a Brazilian and would have to travel on a Brazilian passport. In order to avoid trouble, Mr. Pratt was disposed to comply with this decision but before doing so came to the Consulate General, on April 9, 1930, for advice. The Consul General advised Mr. Pratt to refrain from obtaining a Brazilian passport for his daughter and arranged for a call on the Chief of Police, with Mr. Pratt, for the purpose of adjusting this matter. The Chief of Police was not in, but the Secretario Geral, Dr. Cicero Machado, the official evidently responsible for this order, was interviewed. Dr. Machado was told that Miss Pratt was of age, the daughter of Americans, that her birth had been recorded at the American Consulate, and that she had resided in the United States practically all of her life. Dr. Machado stated that cases had come to the attention of the Police where individuals born in Brazil of foreign parents were travelling with two passports. (He referred to so-called Anglo-Brazilians). Dr. Machado was informed that under no circumstance would this office sanction such procedure and all cases of this nature coming to our attention would be reported. Mr. Machado then ordered that the visa for travel to the Argentine be placed on Miss Pratt’s American passport without further impediment or delay.

I have [etc.]

Claude I. Dawson