The Minister in Sweden (Morehead) to the Secretary of State

No. 620

Sir: In compliance with the Department’s instruction No. 73, dated September 2, 1931, the Legation addressed a note to the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, No. 128 of November 27, 1931,22 concerning the proposed convention on nationality and military service between the United States and Sweden, which was the subject of the Department’s instruction No. 86 of December 1, 1928, and the Legation’s despatch No. 458 of January 10, 1929, stating that in view of the conditions contained in Article 1, relating to termination of dual nationality, of the draft convention submitted by the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs and transmitted in the Legation’s despatch under reference,23 that article is not regarded as acceptable to the American Government, and suggesting certain changes in the phraseology of Articles 2 and 3 of the Swedish draft. A copy of the Legation’s note under reference is transmitted herewith.

The Legation is now in receipt of a reply thereto from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, dated November 29, 1932, a copy and translation of which are also enclosed, in which the Swedish Government explains its inability to adopt the suggestions of the American Government to substitute for the phrase “military obligations” the phrase “military or [Page 762] other obligations incident to permanent allegiance”, and expressing the hope that the American Government will limit the purpose of the convention to the “single exemption from military obligations”.

The suggestions concerning the preamble of the text of the proposed arrangement are acceptable to the Swedish Government.

Referring to the unwillingness of the Swedish Government to expand the phrase “military obligations” to “other obligations incident to permanent allegiance”, I wish to state that this question has been the subject of several and rather lengthy informal conversations between Mr. Crocker24 and the competent official in the Legal Section of the Foreign Office, but that in spite of every effort to explain the Department’s interpretation of the phrase, the Foreign Office still adhered to its original feeling that the new phrase would unquestionably lead to many divergencies of opinion. In the hopes that the matter might be clarified, Mr. Crocker invited the attention of the Foreign Office to the fact that the unmodified phrase “any other act of allegiance” appeared in the similar treaty concluded with Norway in 193025 and suggested that possibly a translation of the Norwegian text of the pertinent article might be of assistance. This will explain the reference in the reply of the Foreign Office, dated November 29, 1932, to the Norwegian term “troskap”, which appears in the treaty referred to.

Respectfully yours,

John M. Morehead

The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs (Sandler) to the American Minister (Morehead)

Mr. Minister: Referring to the letter which Mr. Crocker addressed to my predecessor dated November 27, 193.1, concerning the proposed Convention relative to the exemption from military obligations, and so forth, in certain cases of double nationality, I have the honor to inform you as follows.

The Government of the King has submitted to a careful consideration the proposal of the American Government to substitute for the words “military obligations” in the English text and “militära förpliktelser” in the Swedish text the expression “military or other obligations incident to permanent allegiance” and an equivalent expression in Swedish; it has especially examined the possibility of using—as Mr. Crocker suggested—for the translation of the word “allegiance” a Swedish term corresponding to the Norwegian term “troskap”. But it has arrived at [Page 763] the conclusion that, even though one were successful in finding for the Swedish text an acceptable translation of the idea expressed by “allegiance”—which furthermore would not be the case in the use of the single word “troskap” or other similar synonym—the expression in mind would define the obligations in question in a too general manner and perhaps too vague also—by reason indeed of the absence in the terminology of Swedish law of an exactly equivalent term—to figure in a Convention of this nature. As a complete enumeration of the obligations deriving from “permanent allegiance” would scarcely be possible, in fact, the question of knowing whether the determined obligation should be considered or not as deriving from “permanent allegiance” would risk giving rise to divergencies of opinion.

The examination of the question of knowing what obligations—outside of military obligations—could, according to the regulations in force in Sweden, be brought into account has furthermore led the Government of the King to the conclusion that the insertion into the Convention of a provision of the suggested contents would be of little practicable value.

The Government of the King hopes consequently that the Government of the United States will see the possibility of limiting the purpose of the Convention to the single exemption from military obligations.

The suggestions formulated by Mr. Crocker concerning the preamble of the text of the proposed arrangement do not raise any objection on the part of the Government of the King.

Please accept [etc.]

Rickard Sandler
  1. Not printed.
  2. Despatch No. 283, June 23, 1931, p. 758.
  3. Edward S. Crocker 2d, Second Secretary of Legation.
  4. Treaty between the United States and Norway, signed November 1, 1930, Foreign Relations, 1930, vol. iii, p. 713; for Norwegian text, see 46 Stat. (pt. 2) 2904.