The Secretary of State to the Minister in Greece (Skinner)

No. 456

Sir: Reference is made to the Department’s telegram No. 23, of October 30, 1930, and to related correspondence dealing with the question of military service required of naturalized American citizens of Greek origin or American citizens born in this country of Greek parentage, who find themselves temporarily within the jurisdiction of the Greek Government.

As the Legation doubtless knows, the Conference for the Codification of International Law held at The Hague March–April, 1930, adopted a “Protocol Relating to Military Obligations in Certain Cases of Double Nationality.”15 The Protocol was signed by the Greek Plenipotentiaries, ad referendum. Recently the American Minister at Berne, Switzerland, signed the Protocol on behalf of this Government.16 [Page 388] For your convenience there is enclosed a copy of the Department’s mimeographed press release of January 5, 1931,17 relating to the signature of the Protocol by the American Minister at Berne. A copy of the Protocol in question is also enclosed.

It will be noted that, according to Article I of the Protocol, “a person possessing two or more nationalities who habitually resides in one of the countries whose nationality he possesses, and who is in fact most closely connected with that country, shall be exempt from all military obligations in the other country or countries.”

Once the Protocol has entered into force, the provision quoted above will doubtless serve to eliminate in large part the difficulties which have arisen in the past with respect to Greek military obligations.

It will be observed, however, that according to Articles 11 and 12 the Protocol will not enter into force until ninety days after the date on which ratifications or accessions on behalf of ten Members of the League of Nations or non-Member States have been deposited.18 According to the Department’s information no ratifications or accessions have yet been reported.

The enclosed information is transmitted in the belief that it may be of use to you in connection with the Department’s telegram under reference. Inasmuch as the Protocol in question seems to indicate that the Greek Government is, in principle, in agreement with the American point of view on the question of military service, the Department hopes that a way may be found, pending the time when the Protocol comes into force, to extend the arrangement mentioned in the Department’s telegram of October 30, 1930.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
W. R. Castle, Jr.
  1. Ibid., 1930, vol. i, p. 224.
  2. Signed on December 31, 1930, Foreign Relations, 1930, vol. i, p. 223, footnote 18.
  3. Department of State, Press Releases, January 10, 1931, p. 15.
  4. Protocol registered with the Secretariat of the League of Nations on May 25, 1937, following its entry into force. League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. clxxviii, p. 227.