The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Italy (Long)

No. 79

Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 171 of September 11, 1933, concerning the negotiation of a treaty with Italy in regard to naturalization and military service.

The Department is gratified to learn that the Italian Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs is giving this subject his personal attention, since it is believed that the conclusion of a satisfactory treaty would serve to settle vexatious problems arising in cases of naturalized citizens as well as persons born with the nationality of both countries and visiting or residing in the territory of the other, and thus to facilitate intercourse between the two countries to their mutual advantage.

Special note has been taken of the statement in the last paragraph of your despatch that Mr. Suvich informed you “that his colleagues in the Government were not satisfied with the text as proposed by the United States and desired to make a fresh start,” and that he himself was undecided as to whether his Government should propose a new text or whether he and you should work out a text together.

As it appeared from Mr. Garrett’s despatch No. 1891 of May 11, last, that it seemed likely at that time that the Italian Government would conclude the proposed treaty, and considering the long period of time during which the subject has been under discussion between the two governments, it would seem especially desirable to take whatever steps may be possible to meet the objections which the Italian authorities have in mind, in order to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion. It is suggested, therefore, that you avail yourself of an early opportunity to discuss this subject again with the Italian Undersecretary, and that you endeavor to ascertain the particular provisions in the draft accompanying the instruction of December 14, 1932, to Ambassador Garrett as to which the Italian authorities are not satisfied. Upon the receipt of this information it may be found possible to reach a solution of the difficulties which would be acceptable to both governments. Yon will please inform the Department of the result of your conference.

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If, in the discussion of this matter with the Undersecretary it becomes apparent that the Italian authorities are apprehensive lest the conclusion of the treaty would encourage Italians to obtain naturalization in the United States with the purpose of returning to reside in Italy, thus evading their obligations to both countries, you may assure the Undersecretary that this would not be the case. As pointed out in the Department’s instruction of December 14, 1932, mentioned above, Article III of the draft is designed to prevent such abuse of naturalization, which is as objectionable to this Government as it presumably is to the Italian Government. In general, the object of the treaty is to define the status and obligations of naturalized citizens and persons born with dual nationality in a way which would be just and reasonable, from the standpoints of the two Governments, as well as that of the individuals concerned.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Harry F. Payer