The Italian Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Suvich) to the American Ambassador in Italy (Long) 12



The proposal of the Government of the United States of America for a naturalization treaty with Italy comes at a moment when a bill containing new citizenship regulations is still before the Senate of the Realm.

Hence the advisability of holding up negotiations on this matter until the above-mentioned bill has been passed and become a state law.

A study of the American draft reveals that it contains provisions conflicting with principles sanctioned by Italian legislation.

[Page 584]

Among such discrepancies, the following examples may be cited:

Loss of Italian nationality is incurred by those persons who at any time acquire American citizenship, and vice versa. Such a clause might present disadvantages, especially during potential periods of abnormality, although there is no doubt that the authorities of both countries would under such circumstances proceed with the utmost good faith and care.
With respect to the acquisition of citizenship by minor children, the draft makes no distinction between children residing with their father and those separated from him by considerable distance, which is contrary to Italian legislation now in force and to the new bill.
According to the draft a person who has been naturalized in one of the two countries and who returns to his native country may retain the citizenship of the former even when he remains in the latter for more than two years, provided that there is proof of his desire to retain his acquired citizenship. Such a clause, which would possibly protect momentary personal interests, might easily lead to controversies even more complicated than those which the project aims to avoid, if only because of the difficulty of weighing such evidence.
Moreover, the terms of the draft make it impossible to prosecute a native-born citizen who, having reacquired his original nationality, during the time in which he was in possession of the citizenship of the other country, commits misdeeds which in his native country constitute crime and occasionally serious crime. Such a situation would place the naturalized citizen in a privilege[d] position with respect to the citizens of either one of the two countries.
The draft does not cover serious cases of conflicting nationality arising from the diversity of the laws of the two countries, among which is the question of the citizenship of a woman contracting marriage.

The foregoing would appear sufficient to demonstrate the difficulties of reaching a settlement of the complex problem upon the basis of the American draft, although the Fascist Government is in principle favorably disposed to consider an agreement on this subject.

[In instruction No. 129 of January 18, 1934, the Ambassador in Italy was advised that, inasmuch as the Italian Government appeared to be disinclined to conclude a naturalization treaty, “the negotiations may therefore be dropped unless and until changed conditions in the future would make their reopening opportune.” (711.654/69)]

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in Italy in his despatch No. 319, December 15; received December 29.