The Secretary of State to the Minister in Finland ( Brodie )

No. 17

Sir: The Department has received the Legation’s despatch No. 1597 of March 8, 1930, in reply to its instruction of September 21, 1929, concerning the proposed convention between the United States and Finland in regard to nationality and military service.

The Department has noted with regret that the Finnish Government does not see its way clear to enter into the proposed convention in view of the fact that it would conflict with existing Finnish laws. It appears that the principal conflict relates to Article I, which conflicts with Section 1 of the Finnish nationality law of June 17, 1927, according to which no Finnish citizen between the ages of 17 and 28 years can lose his Finnish citizenship by obtaining naturalization in a foreign country unless the President of the Republic, upon the submission of a petition, releases him from the same.

A treaty which would leave in effect the provision of the Finnish law last mentioned in its application to Finns naturalized in the United States would be of little or no value to this country. The same may be said of the proposal contained in the note of March 7, 1930, from the Foreign Office concerning persons born in the United States of Finnish parents.

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It is hoped that, after further study has been made of the operation of the Finnish nationality law of 1927, the Finnish Government may find it possible to enter into an agreement along the lines of the draft submitted with the Department’s instruction of December 1, 1928, even though this may necessitate some changes in the Finnish laws insofar as they affect persons of the classes covered by the proposed treaty.5

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
W. R. Castle, Jr.
  1. A convention regulating military obligations of persons having dual nationality was signed with Finland on January 27, 1939; for text, see Department of State Treaty Series No. 953.